Courgettes

by Daphne Lambert

Courgettes are relatively easy to grow either in containers or in the garden. They like a rich soil and to be well watered. Once established the huge leaves suppress weeds but they will also smother other low growing plants so be careful what you grow nearby.


As part of the Urban Garden Project we have grown 3 courgette plants in an old metal bath, 1 in a small rectangular container and 4, with 8 sweetcorn, in a raised straw bale bed and we have an abundance of courgettes.

If you don’t already grow courgettes I would encourage you to grow a couple of plants next year. You will be rewarded with a show of dazzling yellow flowers and plenty of crisp, sweet courgettes.


If you grow courgettes you no doubt know what happens if you go away for a couple of days in the summer months – you come home to discover a bumper crop with at least a few metamorphosed into marrows! In case you need a few ideas on how to use them here are a few recipes:


Green salad with courgette herb dressing

serves 4

4 large handfuls of salad leaves

dressing

1 courgette, chopped

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

small bunch of parsley chopped

1 teaspoon thyme leaves chopped

½ teaspoon sea salt


Tip the salad leaves into a bowl

Blitz the dressing ingredients together until smooth & creamy.

Toss the salad leaves and dressing together and serve.


Courgette soup

serves 4

1k courgettes

50g butter

1 small onion, chopped

600ml vegetable stock

sea salt & black pepper


If your courgettes are young and tender you will not have to peel them. If the courgettes are edging towards marrows and the skin seem a little tough peel most of the skin away.

Roughly chop the courgettes. Melt the butter in a heavy based pan. Add the onions and the courgettes and cook gently for about 15 minutes until the courgettes are soft and beginning to colour. Add the stock, season and simmer for 5 minutes.

Puree until smooth in a blender, return to the pan, check the seasoning, heat through and serve.


Quinoa salad with courgette ribbons, chive flowers & parsley

serves 4

250g quinoa

600ml vegetable stock

2 courgettes

juice and zest of 1 medium lemon

5 tablespoons olive oil

sea salt and black pepper

small handful of parsley leaves roughly chopped

6 chive flower heads gently broken into individual tiny flowers


Cook the quinoa in the stock for about 15 minutes until soft but be careful not to overcook, strain and tip into a bowl.

Trim the courgette. Using a peeler, peel ribbons from the courgettes, turning it as you go so you get long strips off all the sides. Discard the seeded middles, pop the ribbons into a bowl.

Whisk the lemon zest and juice with the oil, season well with salt and black pepper and pour it over the courgettes leave for 5 minutes to wilt them slightly.

Fold the ribbons through the quinoa along with the parsley, pile on to a serving dish and scatter over the chive blossoms.


Courgette salad

serves 4

25g pine nuts

2 tsp fennel seeds

4 courgettes

½ teaspoon sea salt

freshly ground pepper

½ teaspoon chilli powder

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 garlic clove

1 lemon

handful of tarragon leaves

4 handfuls salad leaves


Heat a frying pan and dry toast the pine nuts for 2 minutes taking care not to burn them. Tip into a small bowl. Add the fennel seeds to the pan and toast them for 2 mins. Add to the pine nuts.

Cut the courgettes into 1cm thick slices cut at an angle and place in a bowl. Mix the salt, pepper, chilli and 1 tablespoon of olive oil together, rub into the courgette slices spread out on a baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes until they are just caramelising.

Peel and grate the garlic. Zest and juice the lemon. Roughly chop the tarragon. Mix the remaining olive oil, garlic, lemon & tarragon together. Remove the courgettes from the oven and toss in the dressing. Place the salad leaves in a bowl, tip in the courgettes and scatter over the pine nuts and fennel seeds.


Courgette & feta drop-scones

5 medium courgettes, coarsely grated

6 spring onions, finely chopped

10 leaves of mint, finely shredded

a handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped

250g feta cheese

110g spelt flour

3 eggs

salt & black pepper

olive oil

limes, mint & yogurt for serving


Stand the grated courgettes in a colander and press out any excess liquid.

Put the spring onions, herbs, eggs and flour into a bowl and mix well. Add the courgettes and crumble in the feta.

Heat a frying pan with a smearing of oil, then carefully drop dessert spoons of the courgette mixture into the pan and cook for about 2 minutes on each side. Serve warm with limes, mint & yogurt.


Courgette & hazelnut bake

Serves 4 – 6

2 onions, finely chopped

6 tablespoons olive oil

900g courgettes, diced

225g chopped nuts hazelnuts.

1 clove garlic, crushed

½ tablespoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1” ginger root grated

75g medium oatmeal

100ml coconut milk

50g grated fresh coconut

salt & pepper


oven 200C/400F/gas no 6


Gently cook the onions in half of the oil; add the garlic, cumin, coriander and ginger, stir well & cook for a further minute. Cook the courgettes in the remaining oil until just beginning to caramelise. Combine the onion mixture & courgettes with the remaining ingredients. Press the mixture into a lightly oiled ovenproof dish and bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven.

Serve hot or cold.

Ratatouille

serves 6

2 yellow peppers
2 red peppers
450g aubergines
450g courgettes
2 large onions
olive oil
2 cloves garlic crushed
450g tomatoes, blanched, skin removed & seeded
small bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
handful roughly torn basil leaves
sea salt & black pepper


Roast and peel the peppers, cut the courgette, aubergine and onion into 3⁄4" pieces place the courgette on an oiled baking tray and the aubergine and onion on another. Sprinkle with more oil and roast in the oven 190°C until they begin to caramelise. The courgettes will only take 10 minutes, the aubergine and onion longer. Combine the roast vegetables with the remaining ingredients in a pan and cook gently for 15 minutes over a low heat. Season and serve. Keeps well in the fridge for up to 4 days.


BACK TO URBAN GARDEN NEWS