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19/07/2009 09:05:00

12 Recipes To Use Up A Glut Of Courgettes

If you grow your own veg you may well be drowning in a sea of courgettes this month. What a fantastic vegetable! One plant can yield kilos and kilos for months. In our small garden we have four plants and after freezing them down we manage to eat some courgettes every week throughout the year until the following summer. Good job we like them a lot!

Even if you don't grow your own you'll find them at ridiculously low prices at your local market so you can get lots in now and cook them for later.

The only problem with this bounty of courgettes is NOT GETTING BORED of them! So here are some ideas to make them different. Some of them are based on recipes from the River Cottage Handbook which is great for seasonal produce. Others are gathered, made up or passed to me.

So here are twelve ways to cook a courgette hope you like them!

1.Courgette and Cottage Cheese Teabread

There is a recipe in the August Foodies Book Courgette Wants To Be Big for a courgette and cottage cheese bread which a young child can make with a little adult help. You can read free it in the back of the book of the month on the About Us page during August.

2. The "cook them now and save them for later" cop-out recipe

Slice the courgettes about twice the thickness of a pound coin. If you've got overgrown semi-marrows, discard the very wet seedy core and lob it on the compost. Sweat the courgettes in a pan with some olive oil and sliced garlic until they are very soft, with the lid off so some of the liquid evaporates. This usually takes about 30 minutes. You're looking for them to be soft enough to squash the flesh part with a wooden spoon but still broadly holding together. I use three cloves of garlic and three tablespoons of oil for every kilo of courgettes. Once they have cooled down you can put them in a freezer bag and freeze for 6-9 months. The good thing about this is they are considerably smaller once cooked than they are when they start. Then you can use them as the basis for recipes 3, 4 and 5.

3.Courgette Risotto

Having done item two, or having taken the results out of the freezer and thawed it in a large pan, you can make it the base of a risotto. Heat the courgette mix until it is completely hot through. Add 225g arborio or other risotto rice and stir it in. Measure out 900ml of vegetable or chicken stock. It works fine with a stock cube and water if that's all you've got. Add about 300ml of the stock initially and stir in, bring to a simmer and leave uncovered. Check in on it every five minutes to stir and check whether it need more stock added. Keep adding stock until the rice is soft and creamy but retains its shape. Depending on how wet or dry your courgette mix was, you'll need as little as 750ml and up to 1 litre. When the rice is how you like it, stir in some strong cheese or a knob of butter. Black pepper is obviously a good addition, but you shouldn't need salt if your stock is good. I also like sliced chillies in it, put in at the start of the stock adding phase, but then I am a chilli addict! Although risotto is obviously best eaten straight away, if you make too much this actually reheats and even freezes pretty well and if the leftovers are eaten next day you'll find the garlicky flavour will have intensified.

Courgette toasty spread

Using the mix from item two, reduce it in the pan until most of the liquid has evaporated another 20 minutes or so. Add big handfuls of strong cheese parmesan or a sharp local cheddar and loads of black pepper. Some thin chopped spring onions is quite nice for texture. Spread this on toast or crackers, mix it with pasta, or pick it up with tortilla chips.

5. Courgette soup

Using the mixture from item two, add 1 litre of milk or mixed milk and stock and heat through. Blend and sprinkle some cheese or a dollop of mustard before serving.

6. Courgette fritters

Grate your courgette - if you have a food processor use it there's no glory in bloody knuckles you know! You can use all of the courgette although if they're really fat you could take out the really wet seedy bit. Put the grated courgette into a tea towel, wrap it up like Dick Turpin's pack and squeeze it mercilessly over the sink until you can't get any more juice out. Doing this makes all the difference. Then add some beaten eggs. For every kilo of courgette (weight before squeezing) I use 3-4 eggs. When you've added them it will be pretty wet. Then add plain flour until the mixture reaches a soft dropping cake consistency. I often use gluten free flour as this works just as well with either type and it makes a change. Add lots of seasoning. I like to add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper too. Fry the fritters three or four at a time in a shallow greased frying pan, on a medium heat. I find that a heaped dessertspoon is about the right amount to set right through before the outside is too browned. Cool them on a rack. They are lovely with chilli chutney or a fried egg or some ham. If you open freeze them on a baking tray before packing them away into freezer bags, they freeze very well and can be reheated through in the microwave very quickly too.

7. Courgette and cheese boats

Works best with smaller courgettes. Cook the courgettes through in a pan of water or in a microwave in a Tupperware with a spot of water. Cook them until the flesh is soft but the skins are still holding together. When you can handle them, scoop out the flesh into a bowl. Pour off any excess liquid. Mash the flesh with a fork. Add loads of cheese, and a spoon of wholegrain mustard and pile the mixture back into the skins. Grill until the cheese is bubbling and browning a little.

8. Griddled courgette strips

Slice a courgette lengthways very thinly.Use courgettes with firm flesh in the middle. Use a mandolin or a vegetable peeler to get very thin slices. Get a griddle pan really hot and griddle the strips on it for a minute or so until they have started to colour up - a few minutes on the grill will also slightly reduce the water content. Or you can put the strips on a lightly oiled baking tray and put them in a fairly high oven for 10-15 minutes to achieve the same effect. Mix up a dressing to pour over. I like olive oil, a sliced chopped chilli, crushed garlic, and lemon juice, but you could use a bottled dressing, some mustard thinned out with olive oil, or some grated cheese. Toss the courgette strips in the dressing and serve while still warm. Makes a nice starter or side dish. I like it with big fat sausages. My personal favourite way of doing this is to put the dressing in a food bag and pop the warm courgettes in and seal, shake and leave for 10-15 minutes. Less mess and the flavour really soaks in.

9. Marrow and Ginger Jam

There's a reason this was a wartime favourite it's easy, cheap and delicious. Quite a soft set jam. Cook 1.8kg of chopped marrows (I take the seediest bits out of the middle as the seeds spoil the texture of the jam) until soft. Drain it off through a colander, pressing a little to get a bit of the water out, but not squeezed dry. Return to the pan, add the juice of 4 lemons, and suspend the rind and pith of the lemons in a muslin bag or similar. Add 3 level teaspoons of ground ginger (or you can use a couple of inches worth of grated fresh ginger in the bag if you prefer). Bring to the boil. Add 1.8kg sugar, boil and pot. If you are not used to making jam check out this page for the basic rules and how to check for setting, sterilising jars etc.

Battered courgette chips

The courgettes for this need to be fairly young and firm. Slice them thinly about the thickness of a pound coin. Mix some flour with water until it is about the thickness of double cream. Add salt and pepper and some herbs or spices if you like. Heat some oil in a pan until it is very hot. Dip courgette slices in the batter until it is coated and drop in to the oil. Always remember to drop frying foods away from you so any splashing doesn't hit your hand. Cook them for a couple of minutes until the batter is starting to crisp and brown. Drain off on kitchen paper. Nice sprinkled with grated cheese, Tabasco sauce or dipped in Sweet Chilli Sauce. You can make a lighter batter with beer or soda water.

11. Lemony Courgette and Goats Cheese Pizza

We found a great recipe for a fresh zingy pizza, which is easy for children to help with too. We have a link to it here.

12. Chocolate Courgette Cupcakes

If your kids are not keen on courgettes, they'll be amazed that you can add them to cakes! The role of the courgette in this recipe is to provide moisture and a little sweetness, so the sugar in the recipe is reduced. The recipe is here.

Hope you'll find one of these useful. Let us know in the comments if you have any other ideas!





















21/07/2009 22:50:00 by Andre

Such tasty ideas. We are all baking and making now and thanks to you our three children are now fascinated with what's growing in our garden. We also helped start a school allotment and now every class at school has there own patch with plenty of goody green food growing. The school are also thinking of putting together a young farmers market on the back of the success and you inspired it all with your great books and fun ideas.... think you will achieve as much as Jamie Oliver and his passion with school meals! Well done. Many thanks and recommend your site and great ideas to all families out there.

Just going to tuck into to my dandelion and wild strawberry salad and our homemade plum chutney dressing. So easy and very tasty.



22/07/2009 21:45:00 by Moderator

Thanks so much for these lovely comments, I am pleased to hear that the books have inspired the children to see what magic is growing in their garden. Happy eating!

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