This is what I found on our allotment on Thursday when I went to water the greenhouse. The season of abundant courgettes is upon us already. Here are the recipes I’ve collected over the last few years – savoury courgette cakes, courgette lasagne, courgette and lime muffins, courgette and feta crumble which is more tasty than it sounds, and chorizo and couscous-stuffed courgette.
Savoury courgette cakes
salt and black pepper
butter for frying
2 eggs, beaten
100g Greek feta, grated
2 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1 handful fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
olive oil for frying
• Wash the courgettes, top and tail them and grate them, skins and all. Put the shreds in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Let them stand and weep for 30 minutes.
• Then put the courgette shreds in the middle of a clean tea towel, roll up and twist the ends hard to extract every drop of water. It’s amazing how much liquid comes out.
• Melt some butter in a frying pan, add the chopped spring onions and cook for a couple of minutes. Then add the shredded courgette and cook until just softened.
• Put the feta, breadcrumbs and herbs into a bowl. Add the cooked vegetables and stir until well mixed. Add the beaten eggs and stir until you have a stiff mixture. You may just need one egg.
• Form the mixture into small balls and flatten them. Put on a plate and chill in the fridge for about an hour.
• Put the seasoned flour on another plate, dust the courgette cakes with the flour and fry in very hot oil until golden, turning them a few times. Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot with some tzatziki to dip them in.
dried lasagne sheets, the type that don’t need precooking
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
700g courgettes, coarsely grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed
250g tub ricotta
100g toasted pine nuts
• Heat oven to 200C, gas 6. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions. After 3 minutes, add the courgettes and garlic and continue to fry until the courgette has softened and turned bright green.
• Stir in the pine nuts and 2/3 of both the ricotta and the cheddar, then season to taste. Heat the passata in a microwave for a couple of minutes until hot.
• In a baking dish, spread 1/2 the courgette mix on the bottom, then a layer of pasta and 1/2 the passata. Repeat, and then put blobs of the remaining ricotta on top and scatter over the rest of the cheese.
• Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the pasta is tender and the cheese is golden.
Courgette and lime muffins
2 large eggs
125ml vegetable oil
150g caster sugar
225g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
juice and zest of one lime
FOR THE ICING
200g cream cheese
100g icing sugar
zest of one lime
• Grate the courgettes and leave to drain in a sieve over a bowl.
• Use an electric beater to beat the eggs, oil and sugar together.
• Sieve in the flour and baking powder and mix well.
• Press the excess liquid out of the courgettes and add to the batter with the lime zest and juice, mixing well.
• Divide the mixture between 12 muffin cases. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 180C until nicely brown and firm to the touch.
• Mix the icing ingredients and spread over the muffins.
Courgette and feta crumble
1 large onion
thick slice of butter
350g small potatoes
2 large courgettes
150ml vegetable stock
50g feta cheese
FOR THE CRUMBLE
100g wholemeal bread
80g walnut pieces
50g feta cheese
• Heat the oven to 180C, gas 4. Peel and chop the onion and cook slowly in the butter over a low heat in a large ovenproof casserole dish.
• Pull the rosemary needles from the stems and add to the onion – you need about a tablespoonful. Scrub the potatoes and cut into large dice. Once the onion is pale golden and glossy, add the potatoes and stir them so they are coated with the butter. Cover with a lid and leave to colour for 10 minutes, stirring after 7 or 8 minutes.
• Chop the courgettes into the same-sized dice as the potatoes and add to the pan. Cover once more and leave to cook for a few minutes. Pour in the stock and let it bubble and steam briefly. You don’t want it to evaporate.
• Make the crumble by whizzing the bread into breadcrumbs, adding the walnuts, 1 tbsp rosemary needles and the 50g feta crumbled into small pieces.
• Remove the lid from the pan, and crumble 50g feta over the top. Spread the crumble mixture over that and transfer to the oven. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the top is crisp and golden.
Chorizo and couscous-stuffed courgette
1 large courgette
1 lemon, juice only
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely sliced
100g chorizo, cut into small chunks
1 roasted red pepper, finely sliced
2 vine ripened tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
1 tbsp mint, roughly chopped
1 tbsp coriander, roughly chopped
• Preheat an oven to 200C. Slice the courgette lengthways and scoop out all the seeds, then place on a roasting tray.
• Place the couscous in a bowl along with the lemon juice and enough boiling water to cover. Cover with cling film and allow to soak for five minutes.
• Meanwhile, heat a frying pan until hot then add the olive oil. Add the red onion and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until just softened. Add the chorizo and fry for a further two minutes until just crisped and the juices are released. Add to the couscous, along with the pepper, tomatoes and herbs. Mix well and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Spoon into the centre of the two courgette halves.
• Place in the oven for 20 minutes and cook until piping hot and the courgette is just tender.