In residence at Perchoir Ménilmontant in Paris, chef Manon Fleury has designed her menu around plants. The star of the moment: the zucchini flower whose delicacy and ephemeral appearance she loves.
At Perchoir Ménilmontant, chef Manon Fleury takes to the skies! In residence in this restaurant located on the 6th floor of a building on rue Crespin du Gast in Paris, she offers a menu in seven stages designed around plants and in particular cereals which she is passionate about and to which she is devoting a book to be published in comeback. “I can finally dedicate myself to what I really love, to the diversity of plants. My recipes therefore combine cereals, flowers, fruits, leaves, vegetables, seaweed. I add a little more fish because I like to cook it. There is no meat: I eat less of it out of taste and ecological awareness, even though I know the strong links between market gardening and animal husbandry. I do not prohibit myself from proposing it again. I am still in contact with great breeders, especially pigs.”
In the meantime, she is delighted to be able to work with the ephemeral and delicate courgette flower. “It only lasts three weeks to a month. It is therefore necessary to take advantage of it as much as it has a very fine taste, specifies the chef. It is often eaten in a single way: stuffed and baked, sometimes a little too much. It’s very good, but if you treat it more gently, it’s delicious and surprising.” Thus, at Perchoir Ménilmontant, Manon Fleury offers it raw and stuffed with zucchini. She also uses it as a condiment to accompany a courgette dish. And, she does not forget her pistil. “We rarely use it, she explains, because it has a reputation for bringing bitterness. But I tasted it again and, on the contrary, it is sweet because it contains pollen. So I also make a condiment out of it.” What if we followed his advice to discover, at home, the full potential of the zucchini flower?
Zucchini flowers in pickles: a condiment that piques curiosity
“The courgette flower is very fragile. To keep it, you can put it between two damp cloths in the fridge. But we can also choose to capture and preserve its beauty for a while. Just make pickles. Boil a mixture of 50 g of sugar, 100 g of vinegar and 150 g of water. This liquid is allowed to cool. We put six zucchini flowers in a jar and pour the liquid over it – very cold because otherwise it will cook the flowers. We close the jar. Leave to marinate for a few days or even several weeks. It’s a condiment that I like with fish or other vegetables.
Stuffed raw zucchini flowers: freshness and subtlety
“This preparation preserves the subtle taste of the flowers. We rinse them gently, we open them delicately to remove the pistil – which we can marinate in a pickle liquid so as not to lose it. Prepare a brunoise of raw zucchini. We cook some zucchini to make a small puree that will serve as a binder. We also cut a candied lemon into a brunoise. We mix the brunoises, the cold mashed potatoes, a few fresh almonds stripped of their skin and crushed, fresh chopped herbs such as basil and parsley. We stuff the flower with this mixture.
Zucchini flower salad: an idea not to throw away the withered flowers
“No question of throwing withered flowers! Stripped of their pistils and their slightly hard base, they are laid flat on a board and cut into very thin strips. These strips are perfect in a tomato or cucumber salad. They bring freshness and a slight taste of zucchini. A real early summer dish.”
The Perch by Manon Fleury, 14, rue Crespin du Gast, 75011 Paris. 6e stage.