I’m sitting here writing this surrounded by buckets of courgettes.
The sunshine, followed by an intense blast of rain, has sped up the growth and todays picking produced an interesting assortment of different shapes and colours.. Some are huge – it’s amazing how much a courgette grows each day if the conditions are good.
The weather definitely affects their production. The plants need a good amount of water and love sunshine. They are better cared for when we have a heat wave as I’m all up for an all over tanning opportunity. Standing in the garden spraying water is on my list of relaxing jobs. The days when it’s overcast and looks like rain are the worst because the watering doesn’t happen. Somehow my brain equates sunshine with watering, not clouds.
As the summer moves on so do the plants. They get bigger and begin to sprawl. We have eaten the first flush and are no longer hovering over the plants waiting for them to grow as there are other exciting vegetables maturing and sneaking into first place. This means that quite a few pass under the radar and get very big.
This all brings us to the annual courgette conundrum. We have been enjoying a variety of recipes – soups, salads, stews, pizzas, cakes etc.
I particularly like this salad of grilled courgettes. Very simple and easy to make and size doesn’t matter. Big, small and medium courgettes are all fine.
I use a cast iron grill pan for grilling which leaves funky looking griddle marks but a barbecue or regular grill would do the job too. The important thing is the heat. It must be hot. Whichever method you use it’s important to pre heat to sizzling.
Grilled Courgettes and Halloumi
4-6 medium courgettes
2tb sunflower seeds
2tbs pumpkin seeds
a big handful of mint, chopped
1 lemon, washed well
approx 150mls olive oil
salt and pepper
Cut the courgettes in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.. Sprinkle over a little salt and put into a bowl. Toss gently then leave for 20- 30 minutes. The salt will draw out some of the excess water. Put the courgettes onto a clean t-towel and pat dry. Wipe out the bowl and return the courgettes and toss with a little olive oil.
Heat the grill to very hot, griddle pan to very hot or have good barbie on the go.
Put the courgette halves on the pan/grill etc. Don’t overcrowd. Best to do in a couple of batches. Cook for 4-5 minutes each side. Less if it looks like it’s burning rather than a light char.
Put the cooked courgettes in a large clean bowl and leave to cool
Slice the halloumi – medium/thick slices – and rub a very little olive oil over them – too much and the cheese will burn.. Grill for a minute or two each side, until lightly golden. Put aside to cool.
Heat a dry frying pan then stir in the sunflower and pumpkin seeds, toast on a medium heat. Keep tossing the seeds so they cook evenly until lightly golden. Take off the heat, tip into a small bowl and leave to cool.
Slice the grilled courgettes on the diagonal into strips.
Slice the halloumi on the diagonal into strips
Put the courgettes and halloumi into a large bowl together with the zest of the lemon, juice of half, the chopped mint and a good glug of olive oil.
Grind a little black pepper over then toss everything together with your hands.
Taste. Add some salt if you think the flavour is a bit dull or more lemon juice if you think it needs further brightening up.
Eat warm or room temperature.