Sometimes, after school, my mum would slice courgettes very finely, then
batter and fry. A squeeze of lemon would refresh me after a long day of
algebra and Shakespeare. This might sound a bit fancy, but it really wasn’t.
I ate my fair share of Turkey Twizzlers and suchlike, don’t worry.
I love courgettes. They’re best when homegrown. Anyone with even a minuscule patch of land should plonk seeds in the ground and let these
trunk-like vegetables flourish. Perhaps they will be more marrow in form but that’s fine. Another common dish enjoyed in my youth was mince in
hollowed-out marrows. My mum was lovely and inventive.
So yes, there is something so enticing about courgettes, isn’t there? I love them shaved into ribbons and tumbled into or on to pasta; diced and baked with garlic and floral olive oil; thin and earthy, spiralling in salads; and in ratatouille, herbaceous and fresh – truly one of my favourite dishes in the world. Perhaps I’ll watch the movie again soon.
We’re coming to the end of courgette season in the UK. We’d better have the
last of the crop, then, and enjoy them before winter takes hold. It’s coming.
The vegetable lends itself to Middle Eastern and French cooking – Italy,
unsurprisingly, also treats it well.
Here, Norma’s executive chef Giovann Attard shares a sprightly recipe that sings. It can be vegan, or just veggie, and is simple but rewarding. Attard uses chilli to provide kick and coriander to bring complexity. It’s a good dish in itself, although I can’t look beyond it as an accompaniment to lamb or hogget.
4 grezzina courgettes, cut in half
For the sauce:
50g shallots, chopped
150g fresh fennel, diced
2 red chillies, chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tbsp tomato paste
200g tomato passata
For the garnish:
50g vegan nduja
50g vegan soft cream cheese
1 tsp toasted coriander
2 sprigs dill herb
Fry the courgettes in some olive oil until nice and brown, then set aside
In a saucepan over medium heat, start with olive oil, and sauté the shallots. Add the chopped fennel and cook for around 5 mins until tender. Add the ground coriander and garlic and cook for another 2 mins
Add the tomato paste and cook for a further 3 mins, then add the tomato passata
Now place the courgettes in the sauce, season with salt and simmer for around 10 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the courgettes. Remove
from the heat once the courgettes are nice and tender
Serve the courgettes with vegan soft cheese and vegan nduja (or non-vegan