Matt Moran’s fine diner Chiswick is a Sydney classic. At its heart is an extensive country garden – merged seamlessly with a pavilion – where much of the menu is drawn from. It means every dish is seasonal, including the restaurant’s signature zucchini flowers.
"Zucchini flowers are a real gift from spring," says head horticulturist Pete Hatfield. "They're only here for a short while, so the kitchen team have to make the most of them during this window ... picking the zucchini flowers as soon as they are fully formed and before they open is the key to getting the perfect flowers for your dish.”
The flowers are elevated with a zingy Chiswick marmalade, which pairs well with rich and creamy goat’s curd and fluffy tempura batter. They’re surprisingly easy to recreate at home – especially once you’ve made your marmalade – and the ideal snack to serve at any cocktail or dinner party.
Chiswick’s crispy zucchini flower
Preparation time: 12 hours (including marmalade)
Cooking time: 30 minutes
2 fresh zucchini flowers
500ml cooking oil (rice bran or canola)
50g plain flour
100g tempura batter (see below)
A pinch of salt
1 lemon, zested
50g buffalo or goat’s curd
20g Chiswick marmalade (see below)
1 bay leaf
Make the Chiswick marmalade a day or two ahead of time. Start by peeling the fruit. Dice peels into 5mm x 5mm pieces and place in a large bowl. Squeeze the juice from the peeled fruit, then roughly chop into pieces. Add juice and fruit to the bowl with the peel, then add sugar and massage the ingredients for two minutes. Cover mixture with cling wrap and let it set overnight. The next day, transfer mixture to a medium saucepan and cook slowly over a low heat until it thickens to a jammy consistency. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate until you are ready to use.
For the tempura batter, add rice and corn flour to a medium-sized bowl and whisk. Gradually whisk in the cold soda water until you achieve a batter light enough to coat the back of a spoon. Adjust the thickness as needed by adding more soda water. Once at your desired thickness, refrigerate the batter until use (just give it a quick whisk before using).
Now it’s time to make the zucchini flowers. On the stovetop, heat cooking oil to 180°C in a deep pot. Dip flowers into a bowl of plain flour, coating them lightly. Shake off any excess flour, and then dip in the tempura batter. Ensure flowers are evenly coated.
Hold the flowers above the batter bowl and let excess batter drip off before placing them gently in the hot oil. Fry each flower for one to two minutes, or until crispy and golden. Remove from the oil and drain on a tray lined with paper towel. As they drain, season with a pinch of salt and fresh lemon zest.
To serve, place two spoonfuls of curd onto your favourite serving plate. Create a small well in the centre of the curd using the back of a spoon. With a clean spoon, scoop one teaspoon of Chiswick marmalade into the well and carefully place the crispy fried flowers on top.
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