Anthoús – Stuffed Courgette Flowers
12 – 15 courgette flowers – gently rinsed and the stamens removed. Just gently pinch them out with your finger tips
190 – 220 grammes long grain rice, rinsed well and drained
1 bunch of spring onions, or a small leek, very finely chopped
1 large (or 2 medium) ripe tomatoes, the flesh coarsely grated
150 -180 ml olive oil
Small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
Small bunch, of dill, finely chopped
A few fresh mint leaves, very finely chopped (optional)
A large courgette or two, sliced longwise
In a shallow pan or frying pan, heat half the olive oil.
Add the chopped spring onion (or chopped leek) and gently cook until soft.
Add the chopped herbs, and cook gently for a few minutes.
Add the grated tomato flesh, salt and pepper, and cook for a further couple of minutes.
Add the washed, drained rice. Increase the heat a little, and cook until the rice has just started to loose its hardness, and has absorbed most of the moisture. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Put a drop of olive oil a medium sized pan, and spread it around the base. Line the bottom of the pan with the slices of courgette.
Now, take a courgette flower, put a small teaspoonful of the rice mixture into the heart of the flower and close the petals over. Some times, gently twisting the petals closed and tucking them under, works well.
Lay the little bloom-parcels on top of the courgette layers. Repeat this with each bloom, tucking them snuggly next to each other. They need to be fairly tightly packed together.
Now, put a small plate or saucer on top – just to hold them in place.
Add about 200ml of water (and a little salt), add the rest of the olive oil.
Bring to a gentle simmer and allow to cook for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Carefully remove the plate and check that the rice has cooked. If necessary, return the plate, adding a little more water if required and cook for a few more minutes.
When cooked, allow to cool slightly and gently put each of the little parcels on a serving dish.
Serve slightly warm or at room temperature, as part of a mezé or as an addition to a meal of other stuffed vegetable