The courgette thief
I’m wandering around my grandmother’s extensive vegetable garden when I stumble upon a real beau! A root of bright yellow courgettes, beautifully sprouted and just about ready for the picking. Images of bright summer delightful dishes fly in front of my eyes…I can do so many things with these! I adore courgettes and I’ve never seen them in this deep yellow-orange colour…
“Graaan, I’m stealing the yellow courgettes!” And before she has a chance to tell me to bugger off I’m away with them! Absolutely gorgeous, fresh, crisp and bouncy to the touch. You don’t get them as good as this even at the market. “Get me some seeds too, please, I wanna plant some in my garden back in the UK…”
My first thought is to fry them and eat them with garlic spiced yoghurt (same old Bulgaria dish we’ve had at lunch the day other, which I never tire from) but they are too pretty to hide under a blanket of sauce. I’ll fry two (cause I love them that way far too much to resist) and use the rest in dishes that will showcase their beauty! I’ve got 8, so 2 go for frying, the rest will easily make two more dishes.
I have been thinking about a Ratatouille for awhile and this seems like a perfect opportunity. Around the garden I find some aubergines, peppers and lovely beef tomatoes. A poke around the kitchen awards me with an old onion and a head of garlic. Perfect! I’m going to bake the ratatouille, instead of cooking it on the hob. When baked, the vegetables contain their shape better and the flavours and textures are more defined. You get a different flavour combination in each bite!
Here is what my ratatouille will have:
3 yellow courgettes
2 large beef tomatoes
3 green peppers
A bunch of celery
An onion and a head of garlic
300ml tomato juice (or mash up a tin of tomatoes)
1/2 glass of white wine
Sea Salt, freshly ground black pepper, olive oil
I drizzle a large deep baking tray generously with olive oil. The courgettes get cubed (2cm cubes) and in they go.
Peppers next, cubed the same size. All you veggies should be cut roughly the same size. It helps them cook evenly and you don’t end up with a hard bite here and there
Aubergines go in
Then the chopped tomatoes, celery, the tomato juice, white wine and seasoning. Finishing off with a good drizzle of olive oil, hands in and a good mix later…. How beautiful does that look?
The tray goes in the oven, covered with aluminium foil at 180 C fan/gas6 for about and hour and a half, then uncovered for an extra half hour at 160C/gas4 till the veggies are nicely softened and cooked throughout. I give them a stir from time to time, just to baste them in their juices.
Just look at that! A great veggie supper or a bursting with flavour side, that will compliment anything from shellfish to a juicy steak. Or spoon over fresh pasta for a light, delicious lunch!
For the meat lovers I have a threat up my sleeve ; -)
A courgette lasagna! Here go my last 3 yellow lovelies. I’m digging in the ratatouille now, tomorrow we cook it! Just need to hide the courgettes….