All throughout Turkey I found flowers growing wild and, in Bodrum, I knew just what to do with them. These moreish scallop and rice-stuffed zucchini flowers are the result. Pumpkin flowers work best for this dish, but they aren’t always easy to find, so zucchini flowers are an easy replacement.
- 12 zucchini flowers
- 1 orange, zested
- 300 g fine breadcrumbs
- 25 g coriander seeds, coarsely crushed
- sea salt flakes
- plain flour, for dusting
- 1 egg, lightly beaten with 2 tbsp milk
- sunflower oil, for pan-frying
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 brown onion, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
- 185 g (1 cup) cooked baldo rice, (see Note)
- 1 lemon, zested
- 12 Harvey Bay scallops, roe removed, quartered
- 80 g haloumi, finely grated
- 120 g kefalograviera (see Note), finely grated
- ⅓ cup mint leaves, finely shredded
Smoked eel dressing
- ½ smoked eel, meat picked, bone and skin discarded
- 2 French shallots, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 250 ml (1 cup) olive oil
- 1 tbsp red pul biber (Aleppo pepper)
- ¼ cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
- watercress sprigs
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.
Chilling/freezing time 30 minutes
To make the scallop filling, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook the onions for 5-6 minutes or until translucent. Stir in the pine nuts, then the rice and lemon zest, and remove from the heat. Add the scallops, cheeses and mint and combine well.
Carefully open up the flowers, being careful not to rip the leaves, and remove the pistil from the centre. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of filling into the centre, then gently twist the petals to seal.
Combine the orange zest, breadcrumbs and coarsely crushed coriander seeds in bowl, and season to taste with sea salt. Dust the filled flowers in flour, dip in the egg wash, then coat with a thick layer of breadcrumbs. Place on a paper towel-lined tray and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the crumb coating to set.
Meanwhile, to make the smoked eel dressing, flake the eel into a bowl, add the remaining ingredients and combine well. Refrigerate until needed.
Heat a large frying pan with 2 cm sunflower oil and heat to 180°C or until a cube of bread dropped in the oil browns in 15 seconds. Cook the zucchini flowers, in batches, for 2-3 minutes or until golden, then drain on paper towel. Serve immediately with watercress sprigs and the smoked eel dressing spooned over the top.
• Kefalograviera is a hard, salty Greek cheese made from a mixture of sheep's and goat's milk. It's typically used for grating. Available from Greek delicatessens.
• Baldo rice is a starchy short-grain Turkish rice. If unavailable, substitute with Arborio rice.