JP McMahon: Countless things to do with courgettes

Enjoy the courgette season with a little stir-frying, flame-grilling, slicing and dicing

 

Many of us pass by the courgettes in the supermarket aisle, pondering what we could do with them, if only we knew how. What is it about this vegetable that seems to scream difficulty? Of course, many of you will know different ways to cook a courgette, from stir-fried to flame-grilled, but for those of you who don’t, what exactly can be done with them?

The Irish courgette season is upon us now (despite the sun) and we should be trying to use as many of these vegetables – although it’s really a fruit – as possible.

To start, courgette soup is a delicious summer starter. Perhaps add some potatoes and cheddar for an early autumn alternative (it is nearly August after all). Frying onions, garlic and courgettes until nicely coloured with rosemary and then adding vegetable stock doesn’t seem too difficult, does it? Blend with a handful of baby spinach and you’ll get a nice green and velvety soup. 

To follow, you could try some courgette fritters. Think sliced rounds, coated in beer batter and fried until light and crispy. These would work well with a nice garlic mayonnaise and plenty of fresh herbs, such as fennel. 

For mains, set up the barbecue and grill the courgettes slowly over wood or charcoal. Brush with melted butter and season with sea salt and thyme. You won’t need any steak after three of these.

Classic dish 

If you don’t desire any of the above, I’ve one more classic dish that includes courgettes: ratatouille.

Sweat two diced red onions with one diced pepper, one diced courgette and a diced aubergine. Add sea salt and rosemary and then a jar of passata or two tins of tomatoes. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or more. Of course, you can spice it up with more herbs or wine. Ratatouille is great to make in large batches early in the week as it will freeze well. The only thing you’re missing is grilled chicken with lemon.

Come to think of it, grilled chicken and lemon is great with stir-fried courgette strips. Don’t hold back on the lemon and thyme.

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