Ah, the good old annual courgette glut. It really wouldn’t be Summer without a pile of courgettes heaped up in the bottom of the fridge whilst we wonder what on earth to do with them all.
Courgettes are incredibly prolific. This year, I’ve even gone as far as growing just one plant in an attempt to keep on top of things. I’ve still got a glut.
I really don’t want to sound negative about courgettes though. They’re a fantastic vegetable. What other veg is so easy to grow, bountiful, as delicious and as versatile as the wonderful courgette?
Here are 5 simple ideas for cooking with courgettes.
Courgette and pecan cake
I now make this BBC Good Food cake every year, it is tremendous and the absolute best way of using up a stray courgette or marrow. There are so many good things to say about the recipe: the texture is gorgeous, the only really bad stuff in the ingredients is 50g of butter and cream cheese, and watching your friends’ surprised faces when you tell the cake is made with courgette is brilliant.
Courgette and lemon spaghetti
During the Summer, we regularly use a courgette and some herbs to make a Real Men Sow Summer staple, Mary McCartney’s courgette and lemon spaghetti. The meal only takes half an hour from plot to plate, and despite the now standard ribbing about my poor spaghetti eating skills from my wife, this is still one of my favourite pasta meals.
Garlic courgette on the side
Ailsa and I discovered this recipe when staying on a farm in France. Jasmin, the lady who ran the farm with her husband, served us up courgettes on the side a number of times, and we never got bored of them.
Ever since, we’ve used this recipe as an accompaniment for fish, meat and anything else that suits it. You simply slice the courgette however you like and griddle in olive oil and chopped up garlic until the courgette is soft. A little sprinkling of pine nuts are nice too.
I love this ‘dip for dunking’ from the River Cottage Toddler and Baby Cookbook. The book recommends spreading on toast, but dipping a sliced up pitta in is just as satisfying.
What’s more, this recipe is a very effective way of sneaking veg into Lewis’s decidedly greens-averse diet.
A quick courgette quiche or tart
I remembering reading a Jamie Oliver interview, where he said that making your own pastry is pointless. If shop bought pastry is good enough for Jamie Oliver, it is good enough for me.
Courgettes work brilliantly on top of a puff pastry tart, and mixed with pretty much any combo of cheese, herbs and nuts make for a very quick and easy midweek dinner. There are lots of simple but tasty tart recipes on the web, including this courgette, basil and ricotta one, and this courgette, mushroom and mozzarella dish.