There’s a law of nature that says your mother-in-law is always a better cook than you are, and there’s no better example than my mother-in-law’s delicious courgette and lettuce soup because, for the life of me, I can’t turn out anything other than a green tasteless gloop. So, sadly, given the number of courgettes even two plants seems to produce, I have to find other things to do with my glut. I mentioned one possibility in my last blog on foraging – chanterelle and courgette tagliatelle. The photo doesn’t do it justice, but it really was delicious.
However this recipe used only one courgette and I’ve got several in the fridge and more developing on the plants, so I need a lot more ideas. Fortunately, I’ve managed to identify a few reliable ways to use courgettes, so here they are:
Courgette Curry (for 2): Fry ½ tsp each fennel seeds and black onion seeds in a tbsp oil. Add two cloves of garlic, crushed, and some ginger paste (about 2 inches from a tube), then ½ tsp each cumin and coriander seed freshly ground with ¼ tsp turmeric powder and 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (or skip the cayenne and add a finely chopped home-grown chilli with the ginger/garlic). Fry together and add 2 or more sliced medium sized tomatoes (preferably home-grown) or 2 tbsp tinned tomato (or more to taste). Carry on cooking over a low heat for about 15 mins and season. Meanwhile, chop two medium courgettes into cubes or slices and fry in a little oil for 5/10 mins until colouring. Add to the tomato mixture and carry on cooking until the courgettes are soft, another 15 mins or so. You can find a similar recipe (using aubergine) in Mahdur Jaffrey’s Indian Cookery. The photo shows it served with ‘Gujerati-style beans’ from the same book. (Beans will be the next glut, so I’ll be having this often in the next month). This was last night’s meal and with two more courgettes down there are only four to go. (I went away for a few days – big mistake).
So tonight’s tea will be courgette pancakes, another reliable standby. I’ve tried various recipes for courgette fritters, none of which worked properly so I now just make a thick scotch pancake recipe (100 g sr flour, 1 egg, 50 ml milk, salt) and add 2 fried spring onions, 1 grated courgette and 100 g crumbled feta. Fry big spoonfuls just like you’d make pancakes. Nice served with a salad (or a poached egg). And chilli jelly. This serves 2.
Later in the week we’ll be having courgette and blue cheese pizza which is dead easy. Make a pizza dough (175 g bread flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp yeast, ½ tsp sugar, 1 tbsp oil, 100 ml warm water). Mix, knead, roll out thinly, cover with oiled cling-film and allow to rise until puffy (30 mins to 1 hr). Brush with oil and bake at 200 oC for about 15 mins. Grate over one or two courgettes, depending on size, but not too much or it will be wet – you should still see dough through the courgette. Crumble over a decent amount of strong blue cheese, drizzle with more oil and return to the oven for about 10 mins. Feeds 4 with a salad or two without.
Courgette and ricotta tart is another standby. I cheat and use a spoon or so of pesto instead of fresh basil, and add the extra cheese 5 mins before the end. (Also, although it’s a pain, it’s best if you cook the courgette slices before layering them on the tart.) Since I have chickens anything eggy involving courgettes kills two birds with one stone (a tasteless metaphor in the circumstances!). So we have Courgette Tortilla on a weekly basis. You can find the recipe in my Spinach blog. Substitute grated courgette for the spinach, or cook slices and layer with the potatoes.
So, one way or another, we’ll be eating courgettes every night for the next month or so in order to keep up with them. Which only leaves the problem of how to deal with the glut of cauliflowers, beans and peas. It’s enough to turn a person vegetarian. Oh, I forgot, that’s already happened …