Thursday, 22 November 2007

Crumbed Zucchini Flowers

Many great things can be done with a nice zucchini (ignoring the obvious puns). My Nan's zucchini slice, for example. Or you could try it thinly sliced, marinated in fresh chilli, olive oil, parsley, coriander and lemon juice, then char grilled for a few minutes on the barbie. Despite their aesthetic appeal (see delightful example of this year's early crop, above), I was always somewhat anxious about recipes involving zucchini flowers, because they seemed such delicate little things, whereas I am more of a robust dishes kind of gal. Last summer however, we had a bumper crop of zucchinis, courtesy of several plants that all seemed to peak around the same time. I could not bring myself to sit idly by and watch those glorious flowers wither and fall to the ground. Luckily for me, that wonderful Karen Martini, whose praises I have regularly sung, had come up with a solution for even the most heavy handed cook. No stuffing involved. And there's crab. Nothing can ever be bad when there's crab. Here is a modified (bit less fiddly) version.

Crumbed Zucchini Flowers with Crab Mayonnaise
Where the Heart Is, page 64

8 zucchini flowers with zucchini attached (style removed)
2 cups soft breadcrumbs
salt flakes and pepper
1 handful finely chopped parsley
2 lemons, finely zested
1/2 cup plain flour
2 eggs, beaten with 1 tablespoon of water

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 spring onion, finely chopped
i clove finely chopped garlic
200g fresh crab meat
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup pouring cream, whipped
2 tablespoons plain yoghurt
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Canola oil for frying
chopped chives and dill
lemon wedges to serve

Mix breadcrumbs, seasoning, zest and parsley in a shallow bowl. Dust Zucchinis in flour, then dip in egg, then roll gently in the breadcrumb mixture to coat. Set aside.

Place olive oil, spring onion and garlic in a saucepan over a low heat until onion is just cooked. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Place yoghurt, cream, mayo and lemon juice in a bowl, stir and add onion mixture and crab meat. Season to taste. Refrigerate until required.

Heat Canola oil in a large saucepan until hot (175C). Deep fry zucchinis for 3 to 4 minutes then drain on kitchen paper.

Serve scattered with herbs, with the crab mayo and lemon wedges. Mmmm.

Serves 4 as a small entrée.

Note: You will have heaps (at least half) of the crab mayonnaise left over with this recipe, but it can be used the next day as a delicious accompaniment to grilled veggies or fish. Either that, or fry more zucchinis; two each is never enough anyway!

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