Courgettes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow in your garden. Perfect for containers and raised beds, they grow fast and furious and produce masses of delicious fruits.
When courgette plants are nicely established, their crops often appear in gluts and it can be difficult to know how to use them up and ring the changes, but, weather permitting, crank up the barbeque, introduce them to white hot coals and they’ll quickly morph into succulent, caramelized beauties, perfect for mopping up pools of piquant dressing.
Courgettes, along with their relatives, marrow and squash, have a particularly high water content and, as a result, all too often end up waterlogged, soggy and insipid when boiled or steamed.
They make for much better eating when cooked rapidly, over a blisteringly high heat, or subjected to a short, sharp roasting, both of which help to firm the texture, intensify the flavour and maintain their fresh, bright colour, be it yellow or green.
Chargrilled courgettes with yellow pepper, shallot and chive flower salsa
- 3 yellow peppers
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 4 shallots, very finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
- 1 bunch chives, finely chopped
- 6 medium (or 16 baby) courgettes, trimmed
- Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Chive flowers
- Remove the seeds and the pith from the peppers and cut the flesh into tiny dice. Set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan. Add the shallots and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes, or until beginning to soften. Add the vinegar and bring to the boil then, transfer to a bowl.
- Stir the peppers into the warm shallot mixture. Add the chives, reserving a tablespoons for the garnish, and season with salt and pepper. Leave to marinate for about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the courgettes: If using regular, medium sized courgettes, cut them lengthwise into wafer thin strips. For baby courgettes, just cut them in half lengthwise. Brush the courgettes lightly with some of the remaining oil, using a pastry brush and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat a griddle pan until very hot and fry the courgettes on both sides, a few at a time, until nicely browned. Transfer to a plate lined with absorbent kitchen paper, to drain. Repeat with the remaining courgettes.
- Arrange the warm courgettes on a serving dish and spoon over the salsa. Garnish with the reserved chives and scatter over a handful of chive flowers. Serve immediately.
Note: If available, a mixture of both green and yellow courgettes looks particularly pretty.