Recipe: Courgette Flower
This courgette flower dish is one of my favourites as it showcases the simplicity that can be achieved with amazing seasonal ingredients and a bit of love and care. The dish is made up of a smoked goat cheese mousse, stuffed inside a courgette flower; treacle bacon crisps, black olive powder, pickled artichokes and home grown watercress from our garden.
The night before, the black pitted olives will need to be left in a dehydrator or low oven ready to be blitzed down to a fine crumb the next day.
It has been a popular starter on previous menus, one I always keep close to hand when the season is right!
The courgette flower is trimmed and cleaned top to tail, lightly steamed for 2.5 minutes and then chilled in ice cold water. Whilst that is chilling, the treacle cured bacon is roasted between two heavy baking trays and layers of good quality grease proof paper. Allow up to 10-15 minutes on 180*C for a good amount of colour, and a chance for the fat to render; I prefer a dry cure for this type of dish.
Start with prepping baby artichoke hearts into nice segments ready for pickling; I use a basic recipe of:
- 250ml malt vinegar
- 250ml red wine vinegar
- 5tbsp golden caster sugar
- 3tbsp of sea salt
- 30g of mustard seeds
Bring to the boil and pour over slightly steamed artichoke hearts.
Whilst the bacon crisps are cooling down you will need to make the mousse.
For the mousse you will need:
- 120g egg yolk
- 300g goats curd mousse
- 90ml double cream
- 1 pipette liquid smoke (alternative methods can be used).
Put the egg yolks in the mixer and start whisking until thick and creamy, add the double cream and whisk to a soft peak. Slowly fold in the soft goats curd and liquid smoke, being careful not to over work. Season to taste.
Once the courgette flowers are chilled, dry off and ensure they are dry, then slowly stuff the flowers with the mousse and leave in the fridge until service.
Blitz the dehydrated black olives and shake through a fine shinoi for an extra fine powder and reserve for plating.
Make a small tempura batter ensuring it only just coats the back of a spoon using sparkling water and specialist tempura batter flour.
Dip the flower head in the batter and lightly fry until golden and crisp.
While the flower is cooking start building the plate, nice and natural no fiddling.
Separate the pickles, bacon and left over spoons of curd around the plate so each spoonful is a nice balance of all flavors. Drain off any excess oil from the flower, lightly season and place on the plate. Dress with a little rapeseed oil and sprinkle the black olive powder around the dish.
Finally little sprigs of watercress are picked and dotted around for a nice spicy finish which ties in well with the sweet and salty flavor you get around the plate as a complete dish.
By James Peck