Zucchini – courgette whatever the name they are definitely a part of summers bounty, in the stores they are plentiful and affordable and if you have a garden chances are you have a constant supply of them.
This is one of my favourite ways of using them, it hits all those exciting flavour notes with chilli, garlic, lemon and basil. It is great on croutons for a party or a snack, spread on flat breads with a bit of salad on top, or spread on your wrap as well as or instead of hummus or mayonnaise, and, it is an especially useful way of using those crazy courgettes gone rogue that look more like marrows. It makes a little bit of good quality goats cheese go a long way and it can make a large quantity of courgettes aka the marrowlike version of courgettes shrink down to a more manageable volume when necessary.
When you are preparing the courgettes for this, you can use one of two methods, firstly with young firm courgettes you can simply grate them and add to the pan, but with the larger or watery marrowlike versions, I grate them on to a tea towel and then twist the towel with the courgette well enclosed, over the kitchen sink to wring as much of the liquid as I can from them ( I am sure this liquid is very nutritious and would be great added to smoothies or soups). This squeezing of water from the courgettes greatly reduces their volume and helps with the conundrum of what to do with all of that marrow/courgette, and so becomes another win in the life of a distracted gardener.
ZUCCHINI/COURGETTE AND GOATS CHEESE BUTTER
Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups
- Approximately 3 large courgettes or 1 marrow like courgette (you want about 3 cups of grated courgette after squeezing for large courgettes)
- Approximately 100grams of spreadable goats cheese.
- 1 small red chilli or half of a larger one. (depending on the heat of the chillis you are using)
- Handful of fresh basil leaves finely shredded
- 1 large clove of garlic finely chopped
- Zest and juice of 1/2 a large lemon
- 2 tablespoons approximately of Olive oil to cook
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Start by preparing all your vegetables into seperate piles.
- Grate and squeeze (if necessary)the courgettes
- Finely slice the red chilli (by slicing the chill people can remove it if they don’t like chilli, and red chilli because it looks pretty).
- Roll up the basil leaves and finely shred.
- Finely chop the garlic.
- Zest 1/2 lemon
- Have the half lemon ready to squeeze over the mix with the basil and zest
- Crumble or break your goats cheese into cm-ish size pieces
Heat a large frying pan to a medium high temperature – you want the courgette to sizzle and brown a little at the edges.
Add a tablespoon of oil to coat the pan and then add HALF the grated courgettes.
Cook until they are starting to sizzle and brown before adding HALF of the garlic and the chilli.
As soon as the garlic begins to brown tip the pan on an angle to drain any excess oil and remove the courgette mixture to a side dish.
Add the goats cheese, lemon zest and juice, basil and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper – the heat from the warm mix will soften the cheese and release the aromatics from the lemon and basil.
Repeat with the second half of the courgette, garlic and chilli.
As soon as the second batch is cooked turn of the heat and remove to the side dish.
You can now fold these gently together and allow to cool a little.
At this point my aim is for the goats cheese to melt into the courgette a little but still maintain some small chunks of cheese.
This delicious spread can be used straight away while warm or it will keep in the fridge for about a week. Like most foods it is best served at room temperature or slightly warmer and the flavours will develop as it sits.
Finally and most importantly when you are cooking you always need people to genuinely enjoy the food you have cooked, for me without this encouragement it is hard to keep up my enthusiasm. For this dish it was my friend Anita who came back to me more than once expressing how much she enjoyed this. So thank you Anita you gave me the encouragement I needed to keep blogging at a time when I was loosing my momentum.
Happy cooking everyone.