It’s August and our Ingredient of the Month is the Courgette – the perfect summer squash! In its prime this time of year, the humble courgette, also known as the Zucinni, belongs to the same family as the cucumber, melon and you’ve guessed it squash. These little beauties can grow up to one metre if left unchecked but are usually harvested immature at between 15cm and 25cms.
Working With Courgettes
Courgettes do not need to be peeled. Trim the ends, wash, cook whole, slice or spiralize. Whilst we don’t recommend it, Courgettes can be steamed or boiled but they become mushy as they soak up the water. However, if you really want to try steaming, it takes between 2 to 5 minutes. Frying takes between 5 and 10 minutes (size and thickness dependent) and is one of the better ways to cook courgettes. Oven baked courgettes are another method of cooking. Roast with a mix of lemon juice and olive oil.
Courgettes can also be enjoyed raw and make a good addition to salads dressed with a little salt and olive oil.
Grow Your Own
The courgette is very easy to grow and one of the most likely vegetables to be found in an amateur garden. It’s a great versatile vegetable to get started with and the best part is you can use all of it, including the flower. Courgette flowers are simply beautiful and can be stuffed using a variety of fillings. For further information on working with floral courgette heads and other edible flowers, read our blog post on Floral Ingredients.
As with all our recommended Ingredients of the Month, we feature them on our menus at our cafes across London. In the meantime, here are a few of our chefs favourite recipes for you to try at home:
1 Slow-roasted courgettes with fennel & orzo
2 Courgettes and tomato au gratin
3 Orecchiette with courgettes and hazelnut pesto
4 Penne with courgettes, herbs and Parmesan