Courgettes to the Brits and Zucchini to the Italians and Americans. Courgettes are a beautifully tender vegetable with a fresh, delicate flavour. They are members of the cucurbit family, courgettes are related to watermelons, gherkins and cucumbers.
Make the most of Courgettes, they really are a versatile vegetable.
Young courgettes can be eaten, raw, in salads, simply rinse and the slice. Courgettes can be poached, blanched, hollowed out and stuffed, baked, fried, steamed or stewed. They taste great combined with goats' cheese and garden herbs. A perfect filling for courgettes would be couscous or rice with a generous topping of cheese.
You can also eat the flowers, smaller flowers are delicious in salads or even in tempura-style batter and deep-fried. The larger flowers are great stuffed with tomatoes and herbs or goat's cheese.
Stir grated raw courgette into freshly cooked pasta, with basil pesto and lemon zest for a quick meal.
Pare courgettes into thin ribbons with a vegetable peeler. Toss with a lemony dressing and chopped mint. Served with grilled chicken or white fish.
They also make delicious fritters, try these little crispy bites..
In a bowl add 2 large courgettes, coarsley grated, with 1/2 tsp salt, set aside for around 5 minutes, then squeeze out the excess water. Mix with 2 eggs, beaten, 3 tbsp self-raising flour, 4 spring onions, finely sliced, 25g parmesan, finely grated, and a sprinkle of dried oregano. Season with a little salt & pepper. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a pan, until hot and add spoonfuls of the batter, fry for 1-2 minutes on each side until golden.
COURGETTE AND TOMATO BAKE
This is a nice easy dish, and makes a great tasty supper, served with crusty bread. ~ Serves 4
2 Large onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 Clove garlic, crushed
750g Courgettes (zucchini), sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
225g Tomatoes, sliced thinly
1 tbsp Fresh chopped parsley
1 tsp Fresh chopped basil
50g Cheese, grated
Salt & pepper
Heat oil in a frying pan and fry onion and garlic gently for 5 minutes until softened. Add the courgettes and continue to cook for futher 5 mins,
turning them occasionally. Add the tomatoes and Stir in the parsley and basil, and the salt and pepper. Then, turn the mixture into a oven casserole dish. Make four hollows in the surface of the mixture and break an egg into each hollow. Sprinkle over the cheese. Bake in a moderate oven (350F/180C/GAS 4) for around 15 - 20 mins, until the eggs are set and cheese is nice and bubbling.
Tip ~ If you prefer you can remove the skins from the tomatoes before using. Do this by dropping them into boiling water. When the skins spilt, just peel to remove.
COURGETTE & PESTO PASTA
A light, easy vegetarian dish
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
300g spaghetti pasta
3 tbsp fresh pesto
Parmesan shavings, to serve
Coarsely grate the courgettes and put aside. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and cook the onion for 5 minutes, until softened. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions. Add the courgettes to the onion and continue to cook for a 2-3 minutes until just softened. Drain the spaghetti and return to the pan. Add courgettes and onion, also the pesto, and toss through. Season well with plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Serve topped with parmesan shavings.
Tip ~ You can make your own or use jar pesto for this dish. Homemade taste much nicer though. If you do wish to use the jar pesto, then cut the quantity to 2 tbsp, as it tends to taste saltier and more concentrated than fresh.
Fresh Basil Pesto