From a chef’s point of view, summer is the best season. It is full of inspiration and there is nothing more satisfying than discovering what has appeared in the garden.
One of the most beautiful items would have to be zucchini flowers. Widely available in Europe, they may be harder to find here, but try your local farmers market or, better still, plant a couple of zucchini plants. You will be surprised at how prolific they are. Pick the baby ones with flowers still attached before they start to die and wilt. Carefully open up the flower and pull out the stamen.
Try stuffing with a creamy goat’s cheese with fresh thyme, or how about a little tiger prawn, lemon zest and mozzarella? Brandade is another favourite of mine, which is simply salted fish with potato mash. It’s a great way to use up any leftover fresh fish fillets or offcuts.
Finally, twist the tops of the flowers closed, fry them coated with a crisp tempura-style batter and scatter with a fresh tomato salsa. Yummy! Head to mindfood.com for the goat’s cheese and salsa recipe.
Jimmy McIntyre is a passionate foodie and the executive chef at Otahuna Lodge, Christchurch.