A freshly picked organic courgette is a delight that hardly needs embellishment. We get them to you from the fields as quickly as possible. Roast, griddle, fry, or ramp up your 5 a day with courgetti (courgette spaghetti). Raw, slow-cooked, fast-cooked or grated into cake batter, there’s (almost) nothing you can’t do with them. Young courgettes are succulent raw – grate or pare into long ribbons with a peeler, then toss with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Storage & prep
Will keep for a week
Storage: This is a crop where freshness really counts in terms of flavour. They’ll store for a week in the fridge but try to eat them as early as you can.
Prep: They’ll need a swift wash before using and you’ll need to cut the tip from each end. They’ll yield to the bluntest of blades, so slice or dice with abandon. You can slice them into long, thin, even ribbons with a swivel top peeler. Just drag it from top to toe and rotate after every few strips. These are perfect for griddling or serving raw in salads.
Sliced or diced they’ll roast, griddle and fry a treat. They’ll even be happy cooked slow and low to produce an unctuous sauce for pasta. When perfectly in season try serving them raw, thinly sliced and dressed with a little lemon juice, chilli, salt and olive oil.
Raw: Finely slice or peel into thin strips, and lightly dress with lemon juice and olive oil. A swivel top peeler is perfect for this, just drag it from top to toe and rotate the courgette after every few strips. Makes a great addition to a well-dressed salad. Try grating into slaws and tabbouleh, too.
Griddle: Peel or slice into hearty strips and cook for a few mins on a griddle or BBQ until marked. Serve as a side dressed with feta, chilli and parsley. Add to the toppings of your favourite pizza or tart. Mix into a robust salad for a fresh and smoky taste.
Slow cook: Slice very finely and cook slowly in a pan with chopped garlic and olive oil for about 40 mins until everything has collapsed into a thick unctuous sauce. Season with lemon juice, salt, pepper and parmesan. Stir through hot pasta, fold into a plump omelette, spoon onto crisp bruschetta, stir into a risotto or lengthen into a soup with a dash of stock.
Bake a cake: Try using some grated courgettes in place of carrots in a traditional carrot cake recipe. Add some to a fruit cake mix or even in a chocolate cake. Although it does impart a mild flavour, its real function is to add moisture and body to the cake; along with a misguided whiff of worthiness.
Slow cooked courgette pasta
Watch as the pan full of courgettes collapses into a thick and unctuous sauce. Very low and very slow is the key. Don't be shy of having a play by adding some fresh herbs to the final mix or a pinch or 2 of dried chilli.
Serves 2 - 45 min
Courgette works well with:
Cheese (feta, goat's cheese, halloumi, mozzarella, ricotta)
Herbs, especially basil, coriander, dill, mint
Indian and Mexican spices
Mediterranean flavours - capers, garlic, olives, pine nuts
Mediterranean veg - aubergine, peppers, red onion
Peppery leaves - mustard leaves, watercress, rocket
Pork - especially bacon and pancetta