Courgettes or Zucchini as they’re referred to in the States are one of the unsung heroes of the vegetable world (or more correctly the fruit world, as they are surprisingly categorised).
When prepared with a little bit of love & thought the humble courgette can become altogether quite wonderful, with a subtle taste that absorbs and intensifies with whatever you choose to pair it with. They grow prolifically, they’re low in price, low in calories, and if that isn’t enough they contain high levels of potassium and vitamin c, whilst being low in cholesterol and great for your digestion. The down side is that we’ve probably all eaten, something with soggy over cooked courgettes in at one time or another, or grown them and they’ve taken over your garden- with so many that you couldn’t even give them away. Don’t let that negative image put you off. I’m going to give you a few suggestions as to how this underrated, versatile vegetable/fruit that is such a core ingredient in the Mediterranean diet can be used to shine and reveal its full potential.
My firm favourite recipe suggestion is ‘Courgette Fritters’ or in Greek -‘Kolokithokeftedes’, fortunately they’re easier to make than pronounce. Most traditional tavernas have this on their menu and I always order them, first of all because I love them but secondly as the quality of the fritters is generally a clear indication of how much care goes into the food that’s being prepared in that particular kitchen. Sometimes the fritters are too floury, other times just bland but when you get them right they are simply the best thing ever, with a lovely plate of tsatsiki to dip them into and a cold beer by your side … perfection.
Then there are a million and one more ideas for using courgettes, such as using them in Mousaka instead of aubergines – to make it a lighter dish, simply frying strips of courgette and drizzling them with lemon, mint, chilli & olive oil, stuffing them & serving with an egg and lemon sauce… Perhaps one of the very best recipes, other than the fritters, is stuffed courgette flowers. This is a little tricky and very rarely served in restaurants as the flowers have to be prepared almost immediately after picking, but if you’re lucky enough to get hold of some please try the recipe I’ve included- it’s exquisite, simple ingredients with the pure taste of sunshine