Pascal Aussignac’s Primavera Tulips

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This pretty tulip recipe from Pascal Aussignac is an unusual vegetarian spring or summer starter, making spectacular use of fresh seasonal ingredients. Make sure to purchase organic tulips which have not been treated with any pesticides.

Ingredients
For the tulips:
4 tulip flowers, with stems
50g of button mushrooms
500ml of water
3 spring onions
50g of Parmesan, grated, or vegetarian hard cheese
100g of tapioca
200g of shelled peas
100g of sugar snap peas
3 sprigs of dill
3 tbsp of olive oil
sea salt
black pepper, freshly ground

To plate:
2 2/3 handfuls of mixed salad leaves

Method
1 Nip out the stamens from the tulip flowers and check the petals are clean.
Bring the water to the boil and stir in the tapioca and a little salt. Return to the boil, stir and simmer for 5 minutes until soft, then drain.
Meanwhile, finely chop the sugar snap peas, spring onions and dill. Set aside.
Cook the peas in lightly salted water until soft. Drain the peas, reserving some of the water. Whizz the peas in a blender with the oil to a thick purée. Set aside.
Soak the mushrooms in boiling water, just enough to cover, and leave until softened. This should take about 2-3 minutes. Drain, pat dry and finely chop.
Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and fry off the mushrooms for 2-3 minutes. Season. Mix in the cooked tapioca and Parmesan, followed by the sugar snap peas, spring onion and dill.
7 Leave the mushroom mixture to cool before spooning into the centre of the 4 tulip flowers. Reshape the petals around the filling.
Put a pan on to boil with a steamer basket fitted above. Place a disc of baking parchment on the base of the steaming basket and put the stuffed tulips and their stems on top.
Steam for 30-40 seconds until the petals wilt, then carefully lift each stuffed flower and stem onto a plate.
10 Reheat the puréed peas and serve alongside the tulips, garnished with a herby green salad.

Recipe courtesy of Pascal Aussignac for Great British Chefs. See here for more. 

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