The Summer weather is here so the time to eat fresh, light, and seasonal is now. That means indulging in seasonal vegetables and fruit. So with that in mind, here is a very easy courgette velouté recipe with optional stuffed courgette flowers, which can be served warm or chilled. It is a perfect start to a summer lunch or dinner, or can even be made as a meal in itself.
4-5 medium (organic) shallots or 2 white onions
3 medium-large (organic) courgettes, cut into squares
1-2 cloves of garlic
1 medium potato or a fistful of white risotto rice (such as arborio) – these are optional and only needed if you want an even smoother texture
the zest of 1 lemon (organic)
4-6 courgette flowers
1/2-1 cup of fresh soft (fresh) goat cheese
a bunch of fresh seasonal herbs such as chives, coriander leaf or basil, chopped
1/2 cup of goat yogurt for seasoning
cayenne or Espellette pepper powder
- Chop up 2 shallots/1 onion and garlic clove(s). Sauté the onions and garlic on medium heat in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil until they are translucent.
- Add the chopped courgettes, risotto or potato (if desired), 1-1.5 litres of water (just enough to cover the courgettes about 2 cm), half the lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boil, cover, lower heat a bit and allow it to simmer until cooked, about 15 minutes on medium/low heat. Ensure that the rice or potatoes are completely cooked through.
- In the meantime, prepare the courgette flowers. These are optional to the dish but add a nice touch if you are able to find them. Gently open the flowers without tearing the petals if possible, and gently tear off the stamen inside.
- With a fork, smash up the soft goat cheese, then add the rest of the lemon zest, the fresh seasonal herbs (I like chives or coriander leaf for this), the cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste, mixing everything well. Take little teaspoons of the soft cheese and gently fill the courgette flowers with the mixture so the bottom part is full and none of the cheese is coming out of the sides. Take the petals and fold them on top of each other, giving the top end a twist to close them. Set aside.
- In a square and shallow oven dish (I use a glass one), add the rest of the chopped shallots/onions spreading them evenly on the bottom of the pan so the whole bottom is covered. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Gently place the stuffed courgette flowers on top of the shallots, cover the top of the dish with some parchment paper and cook in the oven on 180-200 degrees C for about 15 minutes. Occasionally check to ensure the flowers aren’t overcooking. Take off the paper, turn off the oven and set them aside inside.
- Getting back to the velouté – take it off the heat, add some herbs if desired and blend it with a hand blender until smooth. Serve in bowls, with a little olive oil and micro-herbs. Place 1-2 courgette flowers on top or next to it.