Cook’s notes – courgettes, the last of the summer veggies

Courgettes are a wonderful seasonal fruit: yes, a fruit, not a vegetable, but usually found on the vegetable shelves.   Summer varieties continue into thicker-skinned relatives such as pumpkins and squashes in the autumn.

While we wait for the squashes to ripen, let's enjoy courgettes.

While we wait for the squashes to ripen, let’s enjoy courgettes.

Readily-available from supermarkets, farmer’s markets and organic vegetable (!) outlets, they are wonderful to use in summer salads, stuffed, baked, char- grilled, soups or are even ideal to use in lovely robust dishes such as ratatouille and vegetable curries. They range in colour from yellow, pale green or dark green with thick knobbly skins so add colour and texture to any dish.

Steamed carrots and courgettes (provides their own soft filter)

Steamed carrots and courgettes (provides their own soft filter)

Courgettes have wonderful health benefits, one of the most important of which is the high water content!    They are high in antioxidants (such as phytonutrients, Vitamin A and Vitamin C), remove all those dangerous free radicals and preventing ageing.

Courgettes are also packed the essential heart-protective mineral potassium, and the anti-arthritis mineral manganese.

AUbergine, courgette and goats cheese tortilla - warming, filling and full of veg.

Aubergine, courgette and goats cheese tortilla – warming, filling and full of veg.

Courgette, Aubergine and Goats cheese Tortilla
It is best to steam vegetables as they retain their colour and their nutritional content. Check out the options for steamers online.
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: European
Serves: 4
  • 1 medium aubergine
  • 2 courgettes
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 200 grams goats cheese
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 large, free-range eggs
  • 1 tbps olive oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  1. Wash aubergine, cut into rounds (about 1 cm thick). Cover with salt and leave for 5 minutes.
  2. Wash and cut courgettes into rounds. Set aside.
  3. Rinse aubergine rounds. Pat dry.
  4. Blanche aubergine and courgettes in a pan of boiling water for a few minutes. This process makes the veggies quicker to cook.
  5. Drain veggies and set aside.
  6. In a heavy-based, non-stick frying pan heat the oil. Fry the onion until soft and then add chopped garlic.
  7. Add the aubergine slices and courgettes. Stir gently for a few minutes then add lemon juice.
  1. Beat eggs in a large jug. Add eggs to frying pan.
  2. Cut goats cheese into cubes and dot over egg mixture.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook until edges of tortilla come away from edge of pan.
  5. Remove from heat and place in a medium oven for 5-7 minutes until lovely and brown on top.
  6. Serve immediately directly from the pan or serve cold with a salad.

Steamed Courgettes and Carrots
This is a delightful stand alone dish or can be used as an accompaniment with grilled chicken or fish.
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: European
Serves: 4
  • 4 medium-sized carrots (preferably mixed colours, yellow, orange, red etc)
  • 4 medium-sized courgettes (yellow or green)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt
  • Basil pesto (see our recipe in this post)
  1. Wash and scrape courgettes and carrots. Use a vegetable peeler to produce fine ribbons.
  2. Steam the courgettes and carrots to retain their nutrition.
  3. Choose a medium sized pan and fill about 5-7 cm water and then fit in a steamer basket. Bring the water to the boil.
  4. Add the ribbons of carrots
  5. Steam for a few minutes then add courgettes.
  6. Steam for another 5 minutes until all veggies are al dente. Don’t overcook veggies!
  7. Remove carrots and courgettes from steamer and set aside.
  8. Season with salt and black pepper.
  9. Toss the veggies with the basil pesto sauce and serve immediately.

Basil Pesto Sauce
Homemade basil pesto sauce is a great option to toss through steamed veggies – however shop-bought sauces can be almost as good. You can obtain some excellent brands from local supermarkets or local delicatessens.
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts or mixed nuts
  • 25 grams Comte cheese or Parmesan, grated
  • 4 tbps good quality olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped basil leaves
  1. Place all ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Blend with a hand blender until the mixture resembles a creamy style sauce.
  3. Set aside. Add more liquid such as lemon juice or water if you prefer a more creamy sauce.

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