Whether green, yellow or striped, courgettes are real feasts for the eyes in the garden! Throughout the summer into early autumn, they’re our constant companions in the vegetable patch as well as our inspiration in the kitchen. Over-abundant harvests are normal, when courgette plants snake their way through the vegetable bed, bearing fruit up to 40cm in length.
Courgettes can be pickled, but they taste best if used fresh from the garden when they boast a lovely soft “bite”.
If we really want to make the most of the annual glut of courgettes, we need recipes that use lots of them. And we can in fact create entire menus from courgettes without getting bored. For a starter, there’s fresh courgette salad, for example. Use a potato peeler to produce long, thin strips of courgette you can sprinkle with a fresh dressing made from olive oil, lemon juice and thyme, and garnished with a few cherry tomatoes, basil leaves and goat’s cheese.
The main course can be warm and crispy: courgette fritters! Put 500g of grated courgette into a fine sieve, add a big pinch of salt and leave for 10 minutes to allow the flavour to develop. Then wring out well, squeezing out as much liquid as possible. Mix with two finely chopped spring onions, one egg, 60g of flour and ½ teaspoon of baking powder. Season with pepper and nutmeg. Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a frying pan and use a tablespoon to add the mixture in portions. Bake on both sides until crispy. Mix some sour cream with a little lemon juice, grated lemon peel, salt and pepper and add dollops of it on top of the fritters. Serve while still crispy, i.e. immediately. Whoever thinks courgettes have no place in desserts is in for a surprise: courgettes and chocolate work great together! Try it out. When you’re making your next chocolate cake with cinnamon, simply grate some courgette into the mix. You will soon see how it happily soaks up the flavour of chocolate, vanilla and cinnamon.
The best think about courgettes is that, when their season is more or less up, pumpkins are just about ripe. Courgette fritters and chocolate cake also work well with floury pumpkin flesh. So bring on the next glut … of pumpkins!