When something is available for only few months you should rush for it; especially if it’s fleur de courgette.
Fleurs de courgette, or courgette flowers are associated with provençal cooking in my mind because I don’t know other ways to cook them that the way old grand-mères niçoises do.
But they’re also linked with a memory of mine.
The kind of memory you’d prefer to have forgotten
. Luckily this memory is soothed by the gorgeous courgette flowers. I suppose I’m not being very clear, so let me tell you the story.

It is a hot summer day during the late eighties. My parents brought me on holiday along them and I am eager to discover the wonderful city of Marseille.
We go to the gorgeous beaches; we walk through attractive fruit/vegetable stalls at the farmers market

It is all perfect. Perfect until the day my dad decides we should go at the grand place where a pétanque challenge takes place.
We sit here on a wooden faded-green bench and we watch.
It is so hot! But the high trees provide an enjoyable shadow, making the heat more bearable.
As usual, my chatty dad starts talking with the players and my name comes to the conversation.
‘In Provence there is a tradition. When a pétanque player looses ‘il est fanny’ [he’s fanny]; meaning that he has to kiss the bottom of a girl called Fanny.’

I am there, sitting and scared: I think the looser will actually try to kiss my bum (which is by the way prettily draped in a new-bought dress).
So as soon as the game reaches its near-end I press my parents.
‘Maman, Papa! Allez on y va!’ [Mum, Dad! Come on! Hurry up!]

Few minutes later we are – to my relief – quitting the grand place and heading towards a crique [creek] where friends of my parents are waiting for us.
As we are walking the air is getting packed with aromatic perfumes. ‘On arrive bientôt!’ [We’re approaching!].

I can see the creek.
A tiny little creek and a giant wooden tent!
I rush inside the tent where Marcel is preparing the dinner.
I immediately spot the small basket filled with gorgeous yellow flowers. I ask Marcel what there are.

‘Fleurs de courgette’
‘J’aime pas les courgettes moi Marcel!’
[I don’t like courgettes]
‘Mais là, je suis sûr que tu vas adoré’ [Maybe, but i can tell you that you’re going to love this]
Indeed he was right. I loved it: a delicious combination of crispy batter and soft flower.
That night, Marcel also delighted us with a luscious bouillabaisse [fish soup].


Beignets de fleur de courgettes
These are, as suggested above, a pure treat: almost melting inside and dead-crispy outside.
Use male flowers for this and if you can, remove the stamens.
The batter I used here is a tempura wannabe though it’s a little more thick.

Beignets de fleur de courgettes

serves 2 as a starter

6 fleurs de courgettes
1 egg yolk
100g flour
100ml ice-cold water
seasoning to taste
olive oil, to deep-fry

Fill a high pot with 4cm of olive oil and bring to the boil.
Mix the egg yolk, flour and water in a bowl. Season.
Dip the flowers in the batter and deep-fry until golden and crispy on both sides.
Eat as soon as ready.