Back in early 2010, I spent a month living in Granada, one of the most southerly parts of Spain. Despite daily rain and the first snow in decades (this was Spain’s worst winter in living memory), I was enchanted by the place. The incredible Alhambra palace, the intricate Moorish drainage systems, the gypsy caves, the jamon, the tiles, the mountains, the bustling food markets and the wonderfully simple tapas – it was sensory overload.
One of the more surprising treats was the local beer, which I had never before encountered – Alhambra beer. I had never found Spanish beer remarkable in any way, but this was different, managing to be crisp and refreshing but simultaneously rich and malty. Alhambra is a beer which is sadly overlooked in the UK, so when Mahou asked the GLC to create its own tapas dish to pair with Alhambra Reserva 1925, I positively jumped at the chance to spread the word!
So, to the recipe. Most of the tapas I had in Granada – one of the few remaining places in Spain, by the way, where tapas is still served as a free bar snack in many pubs – centred around jamon, peppers, prawns, snails and Spanish cheeses. However, I wanted to make something seasonal and English, which wouldn’t be out of place in Spain, and could also be enjoyed with a bottle of Alhambra. I had some young courgettes flowering in my garden, which inspired me to create a GLC version of a beautiful dish I have had in a few places, most notably the fantastic Salt Yard. This dish also uses Alhambra beer as an ingredient. Not too much though, you’ll want to keep it for drinking.
Alhambra battered courgette flowers with pine nuts and honey
If, like me, you’re not good at following recipes, you basically need to do five things:
- Stuff some courgette flowers with a mix of soft cheese, lemon zest, pine nuts and salt and pepper before pinching the flowers closed
- Make some batter using beer or prosecco or sparkling water
- Roll your stuffed courgette flowers in flour and dip them in the batter
- Deep fry in hot vegetable oil
- Remove, place on kitchen towel to remove excess oil, transfer to plate then drizzle with honey and scatter with toasted pine nuts
Here’s the full version!
To serve 1-2 people as a tapas dish.
Stuffed Courgette flowers
- 4 courgette flowers, young courgettes attached
- 2 tbsp plain flour (to dust the courgettes with)
- 100g of soft white cheese to stuff the courgettes with. I used Feta because I love it above all soft cheeses but if you are being purist, you would probably use goats cheese, or perhaps a ricotta for a more Italian slant
- 2 tsp toasted pine nuts – one for stuffing and one for scattering over the finished dish
- Zest of half a lemon
- Salt and pepper
- Vegetable oil – enough to deep fry the courgettes.
- Runny honey to drizzle over the finished tapas.
Alhambra Beer Batter
- 200g plain flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- A pinch of salt
- 1 egg
- 250ml of Alhambra Reserva 1925, cold from the fridge
- Make your batter by mixing the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt, egg and cold Alhambra beer. A food processor is ideal or you can whisk in a bowl. You want the batter to be smooth and thick-ish, like yoghurt.
- Mix the feta, pine nuts, lemon zest, salt and freshly ground black pepper into a bowl.
- Place the feta mixture into each of the courgette flowers (not too full) then pinch the flowers petals back together to hold it all in. Tip: you might want to remove the stamen of the flower, which can be bitter.
- Roll the stuffed courgettes in the flour.
- Heat the oil in a deep enough pan. You’ll know it’s hot enough when a breadcrumb sizzles when dropped in.
- Dip the stuffed, flour dusted courgettes into the batter and carefully transfer to the hot oil. Deep for 3 minutes or so. You want them to be golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
- Plate up and drizzle the courgette flowers with honey before scattering with toasted pine nuts and enjoying with a bottle of clean, cold Alhambra Reserva 1925!
“After” – a better food stylist would have scattered a few herbs on there.
For your chance to win a heritage set of Alhambra Reserva 1925, let us know what would be your perfect tapa for pairing with Alhambra Reserva 1925? Comment below and you could win a heritage set of Alhambra Reserva 1925 beer to enjoy with your own tapa creations!