What to do with all those courgettes……….

September 22, 2008

Hi everyone,

Courgettes, as you know, are a summer staple; not even all the wind and rain can hold them back. Nice as they are, at this time of year “Courgette fatigue” starts to set in. There are only so many Courgette pastas you can eat…. Salads are the way forward especially with vinegar as it brings up their flavour so well. Then to bulk things out and make a larger meal you can add Herbs, Cheese (Goat’s and Feta are especially good), Pinenuts, Tomatoes and Cous Cous. Below are a few of the many salads we’ve eaten over the summer months and for those of you fed up pretending it’s summer right at the end there’s a gratin and pasta recipe.

For one of the best Courgette salads just chargrill or griddle Courgette rounds (see below for details) then add a dressing of Olive Oil and Red Wine vinegar (4:1) along with a little Salt and Sugar. Add some torn Basil or Mint leaves if you have them and set aside for at least 20 minutes so all the flavours have a chance to soften and mingle. Serve with Cheeses, Hummus, Cous Cous, Green Salad and Olives for lunch or as part of a main course with grilled fish.

If you want something a little more filling try an extended version of this by adding Lettuce (or any salad leaves you have) Cherry Tomatoes, Feta Cheese and Black Olives. Because the Courgettes are cooked, this salad feels like a meal and really needs nothing more than good bread for a perfect lunch……..

Chargrilled Courgette Salad with Lettuce, Cherry Tomatoes, Feta and Olives

You’ll need:

  • 2 Medium Courgettes
  • 1/2 Head Lettuce
  • 300gr Cherry Tomatoes
  • A handful Black Olives
  • 100gr Feta
  • Olive Oil
  • Red Wine Vinegar

Begin by preparing your Courgettes. Either cut them into rounds about 1/2 cm thick or slice them into lengths (about 5 cms is perfect) of the same thickness. Heat your grill or griddle pan and when it’s ready place the Courgettes on it then cook on each side for about 2-3 minutes until the slices start to char (if you’re using a griddle pan you’ll get those snazzy stripes). When they’re done take them off the pan and put them in a bowl. Cover with a plate so the heat from the Courgettes generates some steam which continues the cooking process and leaves them lovely and tender.

While the Courgettes are steaming, wash and quarter about 300gr Cherry Vine Tomatoes (or chop 2- 3 regular sized ones) and make a dressing using 1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar and 4 of Olive Oil, a little pinch of Sugar (takes any bitterness out of the Courgettes) and a pinch of Salt.
Mix the Tomatoes, Courgettes and dressing together and and leave aside for at least 20 minutes. If you’re preparing in advance this could be done up to 6 hours before.
To put the salad together, wash and dry half a head of Lettuce then tear the leaves into manageable sized pieces with your fingers. In a salad bowl, mix the Courgettes, Tomatoes, Lettuce Leaves, Feta Cheese (crumbled) and the Olives. Toss together, check the seasoning adding more vinegar if necessary and serve.

Another Very Simple Courgette Salad

You’ll need:

  • 2 Medium Courgettes
  • 3-4 Cloves Garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Basil Leaves

Slice your Courgettes and gently sauté in Olive Oil. Just before they start to change colour add 3 or 4 finely chopped cloves Garlic and continue to sauté until the Garlic has softened and the Courgettes are golden brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool before dressing with Olive Oil and Red Wine Vinegar (about 4:1 should be fine but you may need to adjust) mixed with pinches of Sugar and Salt. Add some torn Basil leaves and leave for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavours to soften and mingle. Serve with cheeses or perhaps a simple omelette and a green salad.

Warm Courgette salad with Pine Nuts and Goat’s Cheese (for 2)

You’ll need:

  • 2 Medium Courgettes
  • A handful Pinenuts
  • 1/2 Head Lettuce (or enough Rocket for 2)
  • Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • 150gr Soft Goat’s Cheese (Chevre rounds are ideal)

Once again, slice and sauté the Courgettes until golden brown but this time leave out the Garlic. When done, allow to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.

Begin by toasting a handful Pinenuts. To do this, place them on a dry frying pan and toast over medium heat until they start to change colour.

Wash and dry about 1/2 Lettuce.

Make a dressing by mixing Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar (again about 4:1 should do it) with pinches of Salt and Sugar.

To put everything together, toss the Lettuce leaves (tear them first if they’re too big) and Pinenuts with the dressing and put on a plate or platter. Scatter the Courgette slices and small rounds of Goat’s Cheese (Ricotta would also be lovely) on the Lettuce leaves and serve.

And if you fancy something more substantial try…

Courgette Gratin with Tomato and Parmesan (for 2)

You’ll need:

  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 3-4 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tin Chopped Tomatoes
  • 3 Medium Courgettes
  • 80gr freshly grated Parmesan
  • Basil Leaves

Make a Tomato sauce by sautéing a medium Onion in Olive Oil over a lowish heat until soft and beginning to change colour (this will take about 15 minutes). Add a 3-4 roughly chopped cloves Garlic and continue cooking for a few more minutes until the Garlic has softened. Add a tin of chopped Tomatoes, a teaspoon Sugar and a generous pinch Salt. Continue cooking over a low to medium heat until the Tomato has reduced by at least half. Check your seasoning adding more Salt if necessary and a little more Sugar if the sauce seems bitter. Cook for a further 5 minutes then remove from heat.
While the Tomatoes are cooking, slice and sauté the Courgettes till golden brown.

To finish the dish, put a little Tomato Sauce on the base of a small ceramic gratin dish followed by a layer of Courgettes, some grated Parmesan and a few torn Basil Leaves if you have them. Continue layering the Courgettes, Tomato and Parmesan until everything has been used ending with a layer of Parmesan. Grill until golden and eat hot, warm or cold.

Pasta with Garlic, Courgettes and Chilli (for 2)

You’ll need:

  • 2 Medium Courgettes
  • 1/2 Fresh Red Chilli
  • 2-3 Cloves Garlic
  • freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Enough Pasta for 2


Slice and begin frying your Courgettes along with 1/2 fresh Chilli in a generous dash of Olive Oil. While the Courgettes are cooking put on enough pasta for 2 (any kind works fine). When the Courgettes start to change colour add 2-3 cloves Garlic finely chopped. Be sure to keep moving the Courgettes and Garlic on the pan so the Garlic doesn’t burn.

When the pasta and Courgettes are ready mix together adding plenty of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese, Salt, Black Pepper and a little more oil if necessary. Serve immediately.

Variation: Instead of the Chilli you could throw in a handful of Capers at the end.

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