Friday, 30 August 2013

Courgette Feast - what to do with the never ending glut!

Courgettes, zucchini, calabacin, cuckinia and more!

Its that time of year when your over zealous courgette plants are non-stop producing, gone is the excitement of early summer when you watch with anticiaption as the first  flowers start opening and you can hardly wait for that first taste of your home-grown courgette.

My good friends Heather and Andy at Alpine Ethos gave me the idea to write this blog, when, at a loss to know what to do with so many courgettes from just 2 plants, they asked for help with ideas on their facebook page.
 
The things is, you just can't see them go to waste!  So I thought I'd jot down my favourite ideas for cooking and eating courgettes, it would also be great to know your best ideas too, especially a soup or pickle recipe, as it doesn't look like our plants are giving up quite yet! Personally, I prefer the smaller, firm courgettes.  They are best picked and eaten as soon as possible.

I've left it as ideas to try and get them all in without going on and on, but if you are interested in specific quantities, please get in touch and I'll send on over the full recipe.
 
Stuffed Courgette Flowers
Pick the flowers that are just on the verge of opening. In the middle you can take out the stamen. Grate cheese, mix with fresh herbs and salt and pepper, push this inside the flowers and pinch the tops closed (it doesn't matter at all if they don't close up completely). Mix up egg with a little milk in one bowl and in another bowl season some flour with salt and pepper and dried oregano. First dip the flowers in the egg then the seasoned flour, then fry in a little olive oil in a frying pan on a medium heat until they are brown on both sides (about 1-2 minutes in total) Enjoy straight away!
Grated Courgette Salad
Grated courgettes with carrots, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, fresh chopped mixed herbs (such as mint, parsley and coriander) then make a dressing with grainy mustard, honey and olive oil.  Mix everything together and serve.
Courgette Pancakes with Smoked Salmon and Chive Crème Fraiche
Grate 4 medium courgettes and put them in a colander sprinkled with salt and leave for half an hour.  Squeeze out the courgettes with your hands to extract any water.  Mix them with some chili, chopped spring onion, minced garlic, curry powder, fresh thyme leaves, 1 egg, 140g flour, tsp of baking powder and 75ml milk.  Mix some crème fraiche, chives and salt and pepper together and set to one side. Heat some oil in a frying pan and on a medium heat fry tablespoons of the courgette batter until brown on both sides and cooked through.  Arrange on a plate, topped with some smoked salmon, the crème fraiche and some rocket leaves.  This is a great starter or light lunch.
Courgette and Blue Cheese Galette
Make a really thick, really cheesy blue cheese sauce and set to one side.  Take a pre bought round puff pastry and lay it on a lined baking sheet.  Go around the edges crimping it, to create a border. Spread the blue cheese sauce onto the base, inside your border.  Thinly slice some courgettes into rounds and arrange on top of the sauce.  Brush some melted butter over the courgettes and the crimped edge of the tart.  Mix some grated parmesan, oregano and a few fresh breadcrumbs and sprinkle them over the top of the courgettes.  Bake in the oven until the pastry is cooked and there is some colour on the courgettes.
Char-grilled Courgettes
Toss some thickly sliced courgettes in some olive oil, salt and pepper and dried oregano and char-grill them really hot so they get dark marks on both sides.  You can eat them like this as a vegetable with your favourite meat or fish, or add them to more vegetables cooked in the same way, or as part of a salad.
 
Courgette Involtini
Instead of making involtini with aubergine, try it with courgette.  Make a tomato sauce, with either fresh or tinned tomatoes and put it into a square or oblong roasting dish.  Char grill strips of courgette, cut lengthways down the vegetable, about 0.5cm thick.  Make a mixture with ricotta, chopped mozzarella, grated parmesan, salt, pepper, chopped fresh herbs,  breadcrumbs, egg yolk, chopped pine nuts and sultanas.   Roll up the courgette strips with a dollop of the cheesy mixture and place in the tomato sauce.  Once all the strips are rolled up and nestled nicely in the roasting tin, top with a bit more grated parmesan and put in medium-hot oven for about 20 minutes.
 
 
Ribbon Courgettes
Take a vegetable peeler and run it top to bottom down a courgette to create ribbons.  Use them in a salad - here they are pictured with char-gilled courgettes, toasted pine nuts, chopped herbs and a lemon olive oil dressing.  The other day, my friends at Alpine Ethos made a salad of courgette ribbons, rocket and feta - yummy!  Our friends at Ski Vive use ribbons as a starter with herby halibut, I hope we can come round and try that one soon.

 
So there you have it, my best ideas, if you want the full recipe, please get in touch.