This is a pretty simple and delicious starter that takes away a lot of the fuss of dealing with zucchini flowers.






Skill level

Average: 4.7 (8 votes)

This roasted capsicum sauce isn’t really a romesco sauce at all but when I put this dish on at Dear Sainte Eloise I didn’t really know what else to call it. It’s the un-holy marriage of a couple of different influences. You could make this recipe even easier by using jarred char- grilled capsicums instead of doing it yourself. 


  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 330 ml bottle of beer (lager)
  • 150 g (1 cup) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 8 zucchini flowers, stamens removed
  • small wedge of pecorino, to serve

Roasted capsicum sauce (romesco)

  • 5 red capsicums, cores removed, left whole
  • 1 onion, peeled with root attached
  • 5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1-2 tbsp fermented chilli or sriracha sauce
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • sherry vinegar, to taste
  • salt and black pepper

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. For the roasted capsicum sauce, preheat a barbecue chargrill and the oven to 190°C.
  2. Place the capsicum, onion and garlic cloves on the chargrill and cook, turning regularly until blackened and blistered all over. You can also do this on an open flame with a wire grill on top.
  3. Place the grilled capsicum, onion and garlic on a baking tray and bake for another 10–15 minutes or until the flesh is very tender. Remove and set aside to cool.
  4. Peel the skins off the capsicums and discard any seeds. Cut the root off the onion and squeeze the flesh out of the garlic skins. Place the capsicum, onion, garlic and chilli in a blender. Pour in a big glug of olive oil and sherry vinegar. Blend and season with salt and pepper, adding more oil and vinegar as necessary.
  5. Heat at least 5 cm of vegetable oil in a large, heavy–based saucepan to 180°C.
  6. While the oil is heating, place the flour and beer into a large bowl and whisk until just combined - be careful not to over–mix, lumps are fine.
  7. Cooking in 2 batches, dust the zucchini flowers in the extra flour, then dip briefly in the batter and fry for 3-4 minutes or until golden and crisp. As they are ready, place on a wire rack over a tray to drain. Season with a little salt.
  8. Arrange the fried zucchini flowers on a plate, top with the roasted capsicum sauce, then liberally grate the pecorino on top.


Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

Photography by Adam Liaw.