The first courgettes of the season – picked young complete with flowers – stuffed with a red mullet mousse then lightly steamed and served on a tomato vinaigrette. What could be better?
Scale and fillet the fish, but do not skin, and remove the line of small bones that runs down the middle of the fillets using a pair of pliers. Cut the fillets into small pieces and place in a blender or food processor along with the salt and process until a smooth paste. Add the egg white and blend in thoroughly until it stiffens. Remove from the blender and rub through a sieve. Place in a bowl set on crushed ice and gradually add two-thirds of the cream (keep a little back to test with), then the sherry and the egg yolk and seasoning. Test the mousse. If the mousse is a little firm, add more cream. The mousse needs to be really soft for this recipe, so continue adding cream and testing the mousse until you are happy with it.
Carefully wash the courgettes and flowers so that the flowers do not break off. Inspect the insides of the flowers well as they do tend to attract insects. Drain. Put the mousse into a piping bag with a fairly small tube. Carefully fill the flowers, which should still be attached to the courgettes, about half full with the mixture. Fold the ends of the petals over to form a seal. Place them into a steaming basket and steam for 4 minutes.
Divide the vinaigrette out between the plates, forming a circle in the centre. Gently place 2 flowers on top of the vinaigrette. Garnish the plates with a leaf of flat parsley and top with a cherry tomato.
Note It is important to handle the courgettes and the flowers carefully at all times because they will easily separate. It is also important not to overfill the flowers – the mousse will expand as it cools, and if the flowers are too full, they will split. Remember to leave enough length in the flower to fold over and completely seal in the mousse.
© 1989 Ian McAndrew. All rights reserved.