Baccalá stuffed courgette flowers

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Francesco Mazzei's Baccalá stuffed courgette flower recipe is a real celebration of summer. Beautifully presented with edible flowers and crisp salads, the flowers are stuffed with a homemade baccalá recipe – a creamy pâté made from dried salted cod which is poached in milk and mashed with oil to create a classic Mediterranean filling.

First published in 2016




Courgette flowers




Begin with the baccalá. Place the dried cod in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Soak for 3 days, changing the water daily, until tender
Cut the softened cod into small pieces and add to a large pan or casserole with the bay leaf and 1 clove of garlic. Cover with the milk and water and bring everything to the boil, simmering for 2 hours
Meanwhile, place 25ml of the sunflower oil in a small pan with the remaining garlic clove. Cook over a low heat for a few minutes without colouring to allow the oil to infuse. Strain through a sieve to remove the garlic and set the oil aside to cool
Once cooked, strain the cod mixture through a sieve, reserving the cooking liquid. Discard the garlic and bay leaf
Place the cod and reserved liquid in a mixing bowl and start to mash together. Mix in the garlic-infused oil and enough of the remaining sunflower oil to make a soft, creamy mixture. Reserve the baccalá until needed
  • 75ml of sunflower oil
Place the radish slices, salad leaves and fresh herbs in a bowl of iced water to help them stay crisp and fresh
Prepare the courgettes by separating the flower from each vegetable. Set the flowers aside and slice the courgette into small rounds
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and blanch the courgette slices and broad beans for 1 minute, or until just tender. Drain and refresh in a bowl of iced water
Preheat the grill to medium-high
Carefully open the courgette flowers and fill with the reserved baccalá, spooning it into the central cavity. Close the petals back around the filling, then place on a baking tray
Brush the flowers liberally with melted butter and sprinkle over the grated Grana Padano. Cook under the hot grill until the cheese has melted and is lightly golden in colour
Drain the chilled salads, courgette slices and broad beans. Mix together with the shaved truffle, season with a little salt and dress with the olive oil and lemon juice
Divide the salads between serving plates and add a grilled courgette flower. Garnish with a mixture of edible flowers to serve immediately

Francesco Mazzei reminds us why we fell in love with Italian food in the first place, conjuring soulful dishes that put flavour first.

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