Urban Kitchen Gardener - 6 Ways with Courgettes
This month our Urban Kicthen Gardener Tom Moggach is cooking up courgettes a variety of ways to broaden our fresh veg horizons.
Whether you are getting them in a veg box, growing your own, or sourcing them elsewhere, we want to help get the most out of the seasonal vegetables in the city.
This week we explore: Courgettes 6 ways
It's the last gasp for courgettes - their final fling after a hot summer. In the kitchen, mix up the colours of different varieties, and relish the crunchy texture of fresh courgettes, picked young. Courgettes and summer squashes combine especially well with basil, chives, dill, fennel, mint, parsley, tarragon, chilli, garlic, ginger and salty cheeses such as feta.
1. For a stylish raw salad, use a wide grater or mandolin to shave courgettes into thin discs. Arrange daintily on a plate, perhaps adding crumbled goat’s cheese and edible flowers. Sprinkle with sea salt and drops of your best olive oil and lemon juice.
2. Grill strips of courgette or summer squash on the barbecue or griddle. Brush with oil first, then season with salt, pepper, lemon juice, herbs and perhaps a touch of red chilli.
3. Deep-fry the flowers in a crisp tempura batter. Peek inside each flower first and shake out any insects. stuff the flowers before frying if you fancy: try ricotta cheese, lemon zest and mint, or mozzarella and anchovies. You could also fry matchsticks of the courgette fruit itself – cut firm slivers including the outer skin.
4. Sprinkle the flowers over pizza and fold them into risottos, omelettes and quesadillas.
5. To use up large courgettes and squashes, try fritters. Grate the firm outer flesh into a colander, sprinkle with salt, place a dish underneath, and allow the flesh to drain for half an hour. Vigorously squeeze out excess water with your hands, then mix the flesh with grated halloumi cheese. Press into small balls in the palm of your hand and deep-fry until golden. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with a favourite dip.
6. Stew large chunks with tomatoes and spicy harissa paste. Sauté onions and garlic until soft, stir in harissa (to taste), add chunks of raw courgette or squash and a tin of tomatoes, then cook, covered, until tender. Serve in bowls with a swirl of olive oil and squeeze of lemon juice, plus plenty of crusty white bread to mop up the juices.
These suggestions are from Tom's fantastic book 'The Urban Kitchen Gardener: Growing and Cooking in the City'. Buy a copy for a special price of £15.