For me, cooking fleur de courgette (zucchini flower) is an annual summer ritual. It all started years ago when we took the overnight train down to Nice and then walked into the old quarter where we discovered a traiteur that made all of the southern classics such as pissaladière, stuffed vegetables and delicious stuffed fleur de courgette.
Regrettably the elderly couple who sold this delicious food only could think about themselves and not their adoring customers so they retired. Personally I felt they retired too young. It’s not as if they had reached 95 years old yet, but no, they were selfish and thought that 90 years old was old enough so they closed their shop.
This caused considerable stress for me since the most perfect pissaladière on the Cote d’Azure was now gone. I’ve searched all over the region and everywhere that is supposed to be “good” or even “great” is a disappointment. The one upside is that this tragic event pushed me into preparing the tasty little flowers. Or at least, I try.
Now I go to the local produce markets (they’re readily available around Nice right across into Italy) and buy up the fresh zucchini flowers in the morning and cook them that day. They’re extremely delicate so you can’t let them sit around.
As mentioned on the front page, we’re still a few months out from them being available but for the gardeners out there, now is the time to make sure you’re on track for growing them this summer. I don’t recall finding them in the US but that may have changed since I left. Even here in Paris, I rarely see the flowers available.
The Nice traiteur used to offer a few options of stuffing but the typical one was with soft (young) goat cheese. Give it a try, they’re really great.