Antipasto of Summer Squashes
There are some
interesting summer squashes around these days, this recipe uses the
butternut squash - but you can substitute for what you have on your plot.
Some deep-fried courgette
flowers have been added to this dish (again make use of what you have -
there are no hard & fast rules). They can be picked from the male courgette
plants that don't develop a courgette. You can use squash or pumpkin flowers
if that's what you happen to be growing (they'tr all the same family).
A simple batter can be
made by mixing together equal quantities of flour and cornflour along with
some finely grated Parmesan and baking powder, and mixing to a smooth paste
with water and seasoning, or you can cheat and use a tempura batter mix
which always comes out well. The flowers are then dipped in the batter and
fried until crisp.
Just to add to the
flavour drizzle the cooked squashes and courgettes with toasted pumpkin-seed
oil - you'll have to get that from a deli or some similar outlet
family of 4 - 6. You'll need:
1 squash, (such as an
acorn), cut into segments and seeded, with the skin left on
1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2-3cm chunks
2 large courgettes, cut lengthways into 1cm-thick strips
4-5tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-2tbsp pumpkin seed oil
1tbsp pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
2tbsp pesto, thinned down with olive oil for the deep-fried courgette
8 courgette flowers
tsp baking powder
tbsp grated Parmesan
Water to mix
Heat a heavy-bottomed frying pan with
a little oil. Season and cook the squashes on a medium heat until
lightly coloured then finish them in an oven pre-heated to 200C/ gas
mark 6 for 15-20 minutes, or until tender. Leave to cool.
Meanwhile, heat a ribbed griddle
plate brushed with a little olive oil, or a heavy frying pan, and
lightly season and cook the courgette strips for about 4-5 minutes on
each side, then remove from the heat and leave to cool. Pre-heat about
8cm of oil to 160-180C in a large, thick-bottomed frying pan, or use an
electric deep-fat fryer. Dip the courgette flowers into the batter, then
into the hot fat and fry until crisp, removing with a slotted spoon.
To serve, arrange the squashes and
courgettes on a serving dish and drizzle with the pesto and pumpkin-seed
oil and scatter the pumpkin seeds and courgette flowers on top.