Saturday, June 23, 2012

Fleur de Courgette - the Courgette Flower. In the USA the Zucchini flower

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman
Le Fleur de Courgette – The Courgette (Zucchini) Flower
Fleur de Courgette
The female flower from a courgette, a zucchini in the USA, is a single yellow flower that grows at the end of the courgette. The much more abundant male zucchinis grow on separate stalks near the female plants; the flowers taste the same and have the same texture.
  Flowers on the courgette (female)

              The male Courgette Flowers.                  
Unfortunately, we rarely see courgette flowers in supermarkets in the UK or North America; nevertheless, some farmer’s markets do offer the flowers in season. In France, the season runs for nearly three months; from most of June through August. Tradition gives the first recipes, for dishes made with these flowers, to the Italians; French chefs acknowledge their debt, but  have moved on and added many recipes of their own.
Lady Preparing Stuffed Courgette Flowers for Dinner.
The method of stuffing the flower and the manner of cooking the courgette flowers vary considerably; however, deep-frying, from my experience when the stuffed flowers were on the menu, is the most popular. Whether on their own or as a garnish for the main course stuffed courgette flowers are distinctive and flavorful.
The Courgette (Zucchinni) Flower on French Menus:
Fleur de Courgette Farcie aux Écrevisses et Poularde, Sauce Nantua - Courgette (zucchini) flowers stuffed with crayfish tails and the meat from a fattened, young chicken, accompanied by Sauce Nantua.
Sauce Nantua is a butter sauce, originally made with the crayfish for which the town of Nantua was once famous.  Today, from over-fishing and pollution the crayfish will not be local, and tomato paste may assist with the sauce’s color, but it remains an tasty sauce.  The small town of Nantua is in the department of Ain in the Rhône-Alps; it has a reputation for creative chefs. The Lake Nantua is a center for water sports, and the mountains around are popular with hikers. 
Fleur de Courgette Farcie aux Gambas - Courgette flowers stuffed with large shrimp.
Fleurs de Courgette Farcies aux Petits Légumes – Courgette flowers stuffed with tender young vegetables.
Courgette flowers on sale in Fortville market,
in the old quarter of Cannes.
Fleurs de Courgettes au Crabe Tourteau, Tartare de Courgette, Estragon, Granny Smith – Courgette flowers stuffed with the meat of edible brown crab and served with a Tartar of courgettes and Granny Smith apples flavored with tarragon.

Cheese, tomatoes and courgette flowers.
Fleur de Courgette Farcie à La Mousse De Saumon, Jus De Ratatouille Courgette flowers stuffed with salmon mouse and the sauce from Ratatouille.
Fleurs de Courgettes Farcies et Frites de Panisse aux Olives du Pays, Jus au Romarin – Courgette flowers stuffed with Panisse and local olives and served with a Rosemary flavored sauce.  Panisses are made with farine de pois chiche, chickpea flour, in a variety of shapes and deep fried and traditionally served on their own with salt; today an optional addition of grated Parmesan cheese may be offered. Panisse began as a fast food from the City if Nice on the Mediterranean. Panisse would be bought hot and eaten on the go. Now in fine restaurants, a Panisse may be used as a garnish or served with a salad or have morphed into a dessert with added fruit.

Courgette flowers stuffed with shrimp heads
and then fried.
Fleurs de Courgettes en Beignets avec Chèvre et Ricotta - Courgette flowers stuffed with goats’ cheese and ricotta and deep fried.
Deep-fried courgette flowers stuffed with tuna.
Photograph courtesy of Mathew Kinghorn
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