How to Make the Most of a Courgette Glut

How to Make the Most of a Courgette Glut

Courgettes or zucchini are a wonderfully versatile vegetable, abundant in the summer months. They’re a type of summer squash with thin tender skins, unlike their winter counterpart. They don’t need peeling before cooking but their insides can be watery; some recipes will require you to remove that excess water before proceeding. Do look out for heirloom varieties such as trombetta and grezzina from Italy, and mix and match the green, the yellow, and the white. Here are some ideas to inspire you.

Make courgette flatbread

Flatbreads are all the rage. Layer sliced courgettes atop a pizza or flatbread, adding mozzarella, burrata, or Stracciatella cheese after cooking. A swirl of pesto, some fresh basil or mint, lends vibrancy.

Make a galette

Galettes are the chic, oh-so-casual cousin of the more formal tart. They’re rustic, quite forgiving, and a great way to use any number of fruit and vegetables. We’ll show you how to make a lovely summery courgette and ricotta version on our Introduction to Patisserie course.

Serve them raw in a salad

Yes, you can eat courgettes raw. If you marinade them in a dressing first, they will soften a little but not so much they lose their crunch. Peel the courgettes into ribbons using a vegetable peeler. Lightly toss them in a dressing (we like lemon, olive oil and just a little honey) and leave them to sit for twenty minutes. Add a little chopped red chilli, fresh mint, parsley and a pinch of salt. To serve, lift the ribbons out (the courgette will have released some water) and transfer to a fresh bowl. We serve courgette salad on the side with chicken estofado on Part 1 of Cooking with Confidence.

Make courgette soup

Courgette soup is a classic summer soup that can be served hot or cold. The addition of fragrant mint or basil lifts the flavour. If you prefer chunky soups, you could try an Italian style courgette and white bean soup, finished with a good glug of extra virgin olive oil.

Use them in pasta dishes

The possibilities are endless. Cut them into batons and fry in butter to toss through penne with basil and parmesan or with mint and pecorino. Grate them, drain them, and slow cook with garlic, chilli and anchovy. Layer them in a vegetarian lasagne. Or, stir through linguine with lemon zest.

Cook them on the barbecue

Courgettes cook beautifully over the coals. Cut them into thick slices lengthways so they won’t disintegrate in the heat. They take well to a marinades: think garlic, rosemary, lemon, chilli, marjoram…They won’t need more than a few minutes on the grill. Alternatively, wrap them in foil and cook them whole in the embers.

Make fritters

Courgettes can be grated or cut into julienne then transformed into deliciously crunchy golden fritters to serve with a dip or on the side with lamb or chicken. Key is removing as much liquid as possible before you reach the frying stage. You can do this by placing the grated or julienned courgette into a clean tea towel and wring out any excess moisture. We love them sprinkled with dukkah, an Egyptian seedy spice mix.

Sauté until golden brown

Cut the courgettes on the diagonal into 1cm slices, and fry in olive oil until golden brown. Add a crushed clove of garlic, sweated shallots (around one for every courgette) for a minute, then finish with lemon zest, salt and pepper. For a variation on the theme, add toasted pine nuts and a little fresh marjoram.

Coarsely grate and cook with spinach

Get a double dose of greens by serving courgettes and spinach together. Coarsely grate the courgette, season with salt and leave for an hour to remove excess water. Squeeze out any excess water, before stir-frying in butter with wilted spinach. Season with a smidge of grated nutmeg and lots of black pepper.

Bake a cake

Rather like carrots, the addition of grated courgette to the batter makes for moist cakes and muffins. Lemon or lime pair well. Just add cream cheese frosting.

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