Featured as part of our Cooks and their Books series, this recipe comes courtesy of Greg Malouf, master of modern Middle Eastern cuisine. Each delicate zucchini flower is filled with a mixture of cheese flavoured with herbs and spices, then covered in a sumac crumb and fried until crispy.
- 12 baby zucchini with flowers attached
- vegetable oil
- olive oil
- plain flour, for dusting
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten with a little water
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 limes, rind finely grated
- ½ tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp fennel seeds, lightly roasted and crushed
- 2 tsp ground sumac
- 200 g dried breadcrumbs
- 100 g haloumi, washed
- 50 g mozzarella
- 1 small garlic clove
- ½ tsp salt
- generous pinch of ground cardamom
- generous grind of black pepper
- ½ tsp freshly grated ginger
- 2 tbsp finely shredded flat-leafarsley leaves
- 1 heaped tsp finely chopped mint leaves
- ½ tsp dried mint
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.
Standing time overnight
You will need to begin this recipe 1 day ahead.
To make the crumbs, leave the lime rind out on a plate to dry overnight or put it into a very low oven for 30 minutes. This will intensify the lime flavour. Mix the rind with the remaining ingredients and set aside.
To make the stuffing, grate the haloumi and mozzarella into a bowl. Crush the garlic with the salt and stir into the bowl with the remaining ingredients.
Carefully open each zucchini flower and pinch out the stamen. Roll a lump of the cheese stuffing into a thumb-size sausage shape and gently stuff it into the flower. Twist the top of the flower to seal.
Heat equal quantities of the oils in a deep-fryer or saucepan to 200ºC. Set up a little production line of flour, egg wash and the crumb mixture. Dust each zucchini flower lightly with flour, then dip it into the egg and, finally, gently roll it in the crumbs.
Carefully fry the flowers in the hot oil, no more than four at a time, until the crumbs turn crisp and golden. Remove and drain on kitchen paper, and repeat with the remaining flowers. Season lightly and serve straight away.