Summertime is rosé-time, especially on the French Riviera, from where this recipe comes. Millionaires gather along the waterfronts, hosting glamorous fêtes aboard their luxury yachts, and the beautiful people wash it all down with Provence rosés—preferably poured from magnum.
The dry rosés of Provence make great companions for a wide range of dishes, being versatile enough to move from shellfish to the lighter meats, with some of the more assertive bottlings even able to partner grilled burgers or steaks. This dish of stuffed zucchini blossoms with a shellfish salsa is on the light side, perfect for a hot summer night watching the waves lap the shore.
Thankfully, you don’t need to be on the Riviera to recreate this glamorous dish, and pairing it with a crisp glass of rosé will make you and your guests feel like a million bucks.
Stuffed Courgette Flowers with Shellfish Salsa
Serge Baboulin, the talented chef at Le Perroquet in beautiful Juan les Pins on the French Riviera, created this dish.
For the courgette flower stuffing:
8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, finely minced
2 1/2 cups tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
12 courgette flowers, opened
For the shellfish salsa:
1/2 cup rosé wine
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for oiling the tray
Juice of 1 lime
1 courgette, small, pared – green skin only
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan. Add in the onion and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes until soft but not colored.
2. Add the chopped tomatoes to the softened onions and garlic and cook over a high heat until almost all the liquid has evaporated.
3. Add in the breadcrumbs and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, mixing well. Season well with salt and cayenne pepper, then leave to cool.
The seafood salsa:
4. To make the shellfish salsa, wash and clean the mussels and clams. Place them in a pan with the Rosé wine.
5. Cover and cook the shellfish over the highest possible heat for about 4 minutes until they open, discarding any that don’t open. Reserve the cooking liquid.
6. Remove the mussels and clams from their shells, discarding the shells. Place the mussels and clams in a bowl.
7. Reduce the reserved cooking liquor by half and strain through a fine sieve over the mussels and clams.
8. In the same pan used to sauté the shellfish, stir in the remaining olive oil and lime juice. Add in the diced courgette, diced tomato and chopped coriander. Season with salt and cayenne pepper to taste, bearing in mind the saltiness of the shellfish liquid.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
9. Stuff the courgette flowers with the tomato mixture (without worrying if they tear); turn the courgette flowers upside down on an oiled baking tray.
10. Bake the stuffed courgette flowers for 5 minutes. Serve warm from the oven with the shellfish salsa.
Wine recommendations: Almost any dry rosé will work nicely with this dish. Here are some examples from Provence that we’ve enjoyed recently.
89 Domaine des Diables 2009 Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire; $18.
89 Les Maîtres Vignerons de la Presqu’ile de Saint-Tropez 2009 Château de Pampelonne (Côtes de Provence); $19.
88 Domaine Sorin 2009 Terra Amata (Côtes de Provence); $11. Best Buy.
88 Domaine Houchart 2009 Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire; $17.
86 Château Routas 2009 Rouvière (Coteaux Varois); $13.
For complete reviews of these and other Provence rosés for the summer, please visit our online Buying Guide.