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Coping with the glut…

July 12, 2009

courgette2

Our courgettes are coming thick and fast at the moment and it’s something of a race to use them up before they reach marrow-like proportions – seriously, I swear all I have to do is blink and they double in size! I try to pick them when they’re still quite small and tasty but, if I do miss one or two and they become big and watery, then it’s no great shakes as they’re fine for chutney – which is what I’l be making later today.

One of my favourite things to make with courgettes is ratatouille – primarily because it’s so yummy but I also take great delight in the muddle of colours whilst I’m cooking it. It’s a real feast for the senses!

ratatouille2

I thought I’d share my recipe here, in case anyone else is trying to get through their own body weight in courgettes. My version doesn’t contain any aubergine, purely due to the fact that I’ve never managed to grow any successfully and by omitting them, I can increase the quantities of courgettes. If you do want to include aubergine though, simply dice it, place in a colander, sprinkle with salt, weight it down with a plate and can (or something similar) then leave for an hour. Rinse and squeeze out any excess moisture then add to the casserole along with the courgettes.

Ratatouille

serves 4 generously

  • olive oil
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 peppers – 1 red and 1 yellow, roughly chopped
  • 5 – 6 small courgettes, roughly chopped
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes or 10 medium sized fresh tomatoes, skinned and chopped
  • a generous sprinkling of herbs – dry or fresh – I like oregano, parsley and thyme
  • black pepper
  • pinch of sugar

Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole. Cook onions until soft. Add courgettes, followed by the peppers then the garlic, giving everything a good stir between each addition. Saute for 5 mintues. Stir in the tomatoes, herbs and seasoning. Add a pinch of sugar. Cover and simmer for approximately 1 hour. Check occasionally to make sure the ratatouille isn’t sticking – if you need to, add a splash of water or red wine vinegar. When cooked, leave to cool a little before serving – this tastes best when warm, rather than piping hot. It tastes even better the next day and I often make it the day before I plan to serve it. I like to serve it with homemade focaccia bread and brown rice.

ratatouille1

Another easy way to use up an abundance of courgettes is to make a courgette frittata. Here’s a basic recipe but you can add other vegetables too – such as onions, tomatoes, garden peas, potato etc – and you can also swap the parmesan for whatever cheese you have to hand. Feta is a particular favourite!

Courgette Frittata

serves 2 – 3

  • 2 – 3 medium courgettes, sliced
  • 6 large eggs
  • 50g parmesan, grated
  • olive oil

Gently fry the courgettes in a little olive oil until soft and golden. Beat the eggs and stir in the parmesan. Add the cooked courgettes and stir gently. Turn the heat right down then pour the frittata mixture back into the frying pan. Cook gently, running a spatular or similar around the edge every now and again to prevent sticking and give a nice rounded edge. The cooking time depends a lot on the size of pan your using but the friattata is ready when all the egg is set. If necessary, you can speed things up a little by finishing off under a medium grill. I usually serve this with salad and lots of crusty bread. It’s also tasty served cold.

One final and very simple idea is to roast the courgettes along with some other summer vegetables. This is my basic recipe but again, it can easily be adapted to whatever herbs and veg you have handy.

courgetteflower

Oven Roasted Vegetables

serves 4 as an accompaniment

  • 1 red onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 red peppers, cut into chunks
  • 2 – 3 small courgettes
  • 4 tomatoes, quartered
  • a few fresh rosemary sprigs
  • olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200C / Gas Mark 6. Place chopped vegetables in a large shallow tray and pour over olive oil. Mix well then tuck in a few sprigs of rosemary amongst the vegeatbles. Season with salt and pepper and bake for approximately 35 minutes or until vegetable are starting to char a little around the edges. This goes really well with lamb and, if you’re using chops or cutlets, you can nestle them in amongst the veg and cook the whole lot together.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. July 12, 2009 8:35 am

    oour courgettes had developed into marrows on our return from holiday a last year… they really do grow so quickly, especially with a little extra rain. this years’ courgettes have just started cropping, so if we get a good harvest i shall be back to reread your great recipes! thanks for posting.. happy weekend,

  2. July 12, 2009 1:40 pm

    Help! I’ve only had two courgettes so far. Plenty of flowers – just the wrong sex. Any suggestions as to where I might have gone wrong?

    • July 12, 2009 2:30 pm

      Oh, I’m really no expert when it comes to gardening! I just put things in the ground and hope for the best! I did plant my courgettes quite early so perhaps you shouldn’t worry too much yet. Mine came through slowly at first then picked up speed this past week. Hope it all turns out well for you. 🙂

  3. July 12, 2009 3:06 pm

    I have never heard them called that before – they’re zucchini around here.
    Zucchini bread
    http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,174,129189-250199,00.html
    and stuffed blossoms
    http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1850,148164-252197,00.html
    thats how I deal with the glut.

    • July 12, 2009 3:22 pm

      You say tomato, I say tomahto… 🙂

      Thanks for the links. My husband has promised to use some to make bread and I also have my eye on a cake recipe involving courgettes/zucchini….

  4. July 13, 2009 12:25 pm

    Gosh I have missed a lot – sorry!

    All the recipes look lovely and I am going to try the frittata for my lunch today as we have been given some courgettes from the allotment.

    Nina x

  5. July 16, 2009 11:23 pm

    Summer squash are some of my favorite veggies. I’d love to check out your chutney recipe!
    Lately I’ve been enjoying the blossoms; I pick the male flowers (leaving at least one for fertilization) or the female flowers, once they’ve formed a squash. I just toss them into stir-fries at the end, and they melt down into succulent, juicy bits.
    When the harvest is really coming on, I make a puree and freeze it in zip-lock bags for quick winter soups. Saute some onion and bell pepper in butter and oil. Add enough roughly chopped squash to nearly fill the pan (I make a large pot-full). Add a cup or two of stock or water, salt, and cook, with the lid on, until it’s all soft. Stir occasionally. Toss in a handfull of fresh tarragon or dill, and blend it all up (I use my hand-held blender). Mmmm…great with toast!
    I also like to make “Phatty Squash Patty”; grate a med. sized squash, lightly salt, and let drain for 20 min. or so, then gently squeeze the moisture out. Mix with 1/4c flour (any kind), an egg, some chopped shallot or green onion, fresh herbs. Pour it into a hot, oiled skillet, and cook with lid on until bottom is browned. Cut into quarters to turn over; flip and cook with lid off until done. Great served with fresh tomato slices, goat cheese, pesto, etc.
    Oh how I love summer eating!

    • July 17, 2009 7:23 am

      Thanks Beth – will definitely give those a try – sound yummy! I’ve not tried the blossoms yet – most of the recipes I’ve seen involve deep frying which I’m not a fan of – but I really like your idea of adding to stir-fries.

      The chutney I made this weekend was based on the River Cottage Glutney recipe which you can access online here: http://www.rivercottage.net/SeasonalRecipes~August/122/Glutney.aspx

      It makes a really nice chutney and is one of my favourite chutney recipes as it has just the right balance of sweetness and spiciness. Yum. The only down side is you have to wait a whole 8 weeks until you can scoff any….. 🙂

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