Tempura Zucchini Flowers Stuffed with Tongola Goats Cheese

Many years ago I was at a restaurant in Melbourne called Sud with my parents and we had stuffed zucchini flowers as our entrée. It was the first and last time I’d ever eaten them, but they were amazing and the taste and idea stayed with me ever since. Then last weekend I was most pleased to see that they were available to buy at Salamanca market. Exciting times! So I tried to re-create that recipe from my memory and I have to say I think I’ve come close. This is so easy to do, which surprised me, and has a great combination of textures and flavours.

This recipe is for about 8 zucchini flowers. Carefully unfurl the petals of the flowers so that they are open and easy to work with, remove the stamens from the centre and spoon in (or like me use your fingers) to gently fill the centre of the flower with the cheese stuffing mixture. Then gather the tops of the petals together and gently twirl to seal the mixture in. Stuffing mixture: 50g goats cheese (I used the beautiful Tasmanian Tongola cheese) 100g ricotta cheese freshly grated nutmeg about 6 basil leaves finely chopped pinch of sea salt

Put the stuffed flowers in the fridge while you make a salsa and the batter.

Salsa Handful of finely diced tomatoes Lug of balsamic vinegar Lug of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt

Batter 100g plain flour 175ml soda water combine these together with a fork until there are no lumps.

Heat a good inch or so of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan until it sizzles when you put in a dot of the batter. Remove the flowers from the fridge and coat in the batter before cooking in the oil until lightly golden. Rest on paper towel before serving with the tomato salsa and a sprinkle of finely chopped basil or parsley.

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