Courgette flowers are at their best for picking just as the sun rises: the flowers are fully opened, making them great for deep frying. Recently in Dorset I made myself this dish, as I only have one courgette plant and I thought I should treat myself to the first flower. The crispness of the savoury-battered flower is great with a duck egg, creating a simple but luxurious breakfast offering.
4 large courgette flowers
60-70g self-raising flour
100-120ml ice cold water
20-30g finely grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable or corn oil for deep frying
4 ducks' eggs
To make the batter, slowly whisk the water into a bowl of flour until you have a smooth consistency. Add salt, pepper and the Parmesan and give it a final whisk.
Meanwhile, heat some vegetable oil to 160-180C in a deep-fat fryer or heavy-based saucepan (but no more than half full). Test the oil by dropping in a little batter. If it browns after a minute or so, then it's ready.
Dip the flowers into the batter and cook them 3 or 4 at a time for a couple of minutes, until they are crisp and lightly golden.
Remove the courgette flowers from the oil with a slotted spoon and put on a plate with some kitchen paper on it; lightly season with salt.
Gently fry the ducks' eggs for a couple of minutes in some vegetable oil, then place on warmed serving plates, arranged with the courgette flowers.