Contadina's Blog

Living the contadini life among the olive groves

Getting creative with courgettes July 10, 2010

Filed under: Recipes — contadina @ 2:40 pm

I warned you I’d post some courgette recipes, but if you grow your own, I’m sure you’ll appreciate a few more ideas on how to deal with a mountain of courgettes throughout the summer.

First off here’s my lovely neighbour Maria’s Zucchini frittata recipe (a yummy baked courgette omelette)

This is a substantial and tasty frittata, which  is baked in the oven. It can be served anytime of the day (as part of an anti pasti selection, as a secondi or something to taken to the beach).If you have zucchini flowers then include them too, as they add colour and a subtle sweetness to the dish. When washing the flowers ensure that you get rid of any bugs, especially if you are entertaining any vegetarians.

4 good sized courgettes, a handful of courgette flowers, 4 large eggs, breadcrumbs, pecorino or parmesan cheese (be generous it benefits from a really cheesy hit), olive oil and seasoning to taste

Chop the courgettes into matchsticks. Add a little salt (it helps bring out excess moisture) and fry in olive oil until soft, stirring occasionally. Add the flowers in strips, if using, and cook for a further two minutes. Beat the eggs until mixed and add seasoning and grated cheese. Add this to the cooked courgettes with enough breadcrumbs to create a non-sloppy consistency. Put more oil into an ovenproof dish and bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C/gas 5).

Courgette, potato, feta and mint cakes

Next, this is one of the few  Delia recipes I make a lot of. They have a lovely fresh flavour and come highly recommended. This makes about 16 cakes so halve the ingredients if you want to make less. Delia says bake them, but you can also fry them in a little oil (perfect for veggies come barbeque time as you can fry them in pan on the BBQ).

6 medium courgettes (weighing about 1 lb 8 oz/700 g in total)
4 medium Desirée potatoes (weighing about 1 lb 8 oz/700 g in total)
4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 lb (450 g) Feta, crumbled
4 spring onions, finely chopped (regular onions work just as well)
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons plain flour
2 oz (50 g) butter
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly milled black pepper

Grate the courgettes coarsely and put them into a colander. Sprinkle them with 2 level teaspoons of salt to draw out some of their excess moisture and leave them to drain for about an hour, with a plate or bowl underneath to catch the juices.

Meanwhile, scrub the potatoes and place them in a very large saucepan, with a little salt. Pour just enough boiling water over them to cover them, then simmer gently with a lid on for 8 minutes to parboil them. After that, drain them and leave them aside until they’re cool enough to handle. Then peel them and, using the coarse side of a grater, grate them into a large bowl and season with more salt and some freshly milled black pepper.

When the hour is up, rinse the courgettes under cold, running water, squeeze out as much moisture as possible with your hands (I use me potato ricer), then spread them out on a clean tea cloth and roll it up to wring out every last drop – this is very important, so the cakes are not wet. Now, add the courgettes to the grated potatoes, along with the spring onions, mint, Feta and beaten eggs and, using two forks, lightly toss it all together.

Next, divide the mixture into 16 and shape into rounds about ½ inch (1 cm) thick, pressing them firmly together to form little cakes. They don’t have to be very neat – it’s nice to have a few jagged edges. Then lightly dust the cakes with the flour. To cook them, first pre-heat the oven to gas mark 7, 425°F (220°C) and also pre-heat the baking trays. Meanwhile, melt the butter and oil in a small saucepan, then brush the cakes on both sides with it. When the oven is up to heat, place the cakes on the trays, returning one to the top shelf and the other to the middle shelf for 15 minutes. After that, carefully turn the cakes over, using a palette knife and a fork, swap the positions of the trays in the oven and cook them for a further 10-15 minutes. We used the leftover ones from the barbeque the night before for breakfast.

A few of my other favourite courgette recipes include thinly slicing them and sauteing them in either olive oil or butter with garlic is a must as you can eat them warm or cold and with or without mint and either lemon or a splash of vinegar. They are great with pasta and lemon and go well in most rice dishes, they make great chutney and then there’s Elizabeth David’s courgette and tomato gratin



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