It’s that time of the year when the farm turns green once more. Flowers, fruits and vegetables, growing over red soil, makes my heart soar. The thought of walking around the gardens and randomly plucking what is ready to harvest, tasting ripe strawberries on the way back to the house – and planning in my mind, what to make with the mud-encrusted produce in my hands.
I planted Zucchini seeds this year, hoping we will get some fresh organic ones to eat. Frankly, I am not a great lover of Zucchini. I was actually eyeing the flowers. I had eaten some delicious stuffed Zucchini flowers, in a restaurant long ago. These flowers are not available in Bombay markets. The only way to get hold of them was to grow them – so grow them we did.
And grow they did –Oh! Boy. How they grew!! Wild and unrelenting. An entire plot is covered with various sizes of Zucchini. I was completely delighted to see huge Zucchini’s hidden amongst the foliage. Sunshine yellow flowers, curling under the leaves, nestled next to the vegetable.
The flowers are very very delicate. I had my camera and some more equipment in my hand and bent down to pluck a flower. –And I damaged it. By the time I could stand up to see what I had pulled out, the poor little flower was almost wilting. I freed my hands and did what the flowers wanted to me to do. Show them some reverence. We were only two of us, so I slowly, with great care, plucked 5 more flowers from the stems.
The flowers in themselves, have a soft cosy mouthfeel, and a certain mild sweetness leant to it by the stamens. I had goat’s cheese at hand, so I decided to use that, with no additional flavouring.
I had to gently reach into the flower, (an not matter how careful I was, the petal tore at one end) and pull out the stamen. There is only one stamen per flower. Then I stuffed the cheese into the flower and gently, very gently closed the mouth. At this point, the flower should not be handled too much. Just a gentle two-fingered pinch at the mouth works. The cheese is a bit sticky, and will not come out, so this process is just to our satisfaction.
After this, I dredged the flower in egg batter, and then in breadcrumbs. I like the egg batter as it gives a lovely crisp edge. But I will also be giving you the recipe for eggless batter, which works just as well.
When you bite into soft petals, oozing with salty yet tart, goat’s cheese and the mouth fills up with a party of textures, just close your eyes and savour the goodness of this sunshine yellow very seasonal, and very difficult to get – flowers.