Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Recipe: Griddled Courgettes with Toasted Pine Nuts

I can't believe it! I REALLY can't! I have actually grown something that I have managed to turn into something! As mentioned in previous posts, I am not a very green-fingered girl, and although I have grown a few things before, usually they have never cropped enough to make into anything (Example: O.K guys so I have....3 cherry tomatoes and 2 strawberries......like I can do much with that!). However, these courgettes are really going wild. I grew these lovely things from seed and I can't believe how massive the plants are now! I am loving the look of our raised beds that the family got sorted a couple of months ago. We do have a tincy garden but those two raised beds are enough space to grow a few things. My three courgette plants are on the left, and on the right you can see the Kos and Iceberg lettuces that my dad grew from really little plants from the garden centre. We harvested one of the Kos's recently and it tasted great! On the far left you can see I have two tomato plants as well, I got them from little plants at a local hardware shop, they are called "Alicante". It's the first time i've grown normal tomatoes rather than cherry varieties, so im interested to see how they turn out. We also have various herbs growing in the beds, in the border and in pots. It's so nice when you are cooking just to head out to the garden and pick the herbs you want.

This is a close-up of one of my plants, you can see one of the courgettes on there (plenty of flowers too! Good sign). I got the seeds free from the BBC, with their "Dig In" Campaign, with a load of other seeds that I intend to have a go at next year, now that I feel confident enough with growing veg from scratch. THANK YOU BBC!!! They are a variety called "Black Beauty", and by the look of them, they are the usual ones that you buy in shops. I think I will grow them next year too, but maybe with another variety too, as I have a packet of yellow courgette seeds callled "Gold rush" and they look interesting.

I picked one from each plant, and according to what i've researched I should be able to get about 3 every week from now on, until the frost comes anyway. This is them with the courgette flowers cut off. Hah, you can really tell how scarily proud I am of this can't you? Haha!

So, in all this excitement I also bought a cast iron griddle pan from my local Kitchenware shop. I am following the instructions with it- I really hope it doesnt rust on me, cause one of my friends said they have bought several griddle pans over the years, cause all of em ended up rusting! Anyway, this recipe is scrumptious. My home grown courgettes tasted fantastic, and i feel that the other ingredients help bring out the flavour of the fresh produce, without overpowering it. I do love the courgette flowers as well, remember, they are edible, and rather delicious (particularly deep fried!). I served this as a side dish to my Caramelised Shallot tart, the recipe for which is on the site (you can find it under pastry or french in the index):

Griddled courgettes with basil and pine nuts (serves 2 as a side dish) costs £1.11 per portion

300g (About 3) courgettes, sliced into thin strips
Olive oil
Small handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
3 courgette flowers, cleaned and roughly chopped
25g pine nuts, toasted
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt, pepper and sugar

1. Heat a griddle pan to a fairly high heat. Coat the courgette slices in olive oil and a little salt and pepper. In batches, griddle the slices of courgettes about 1-2 minutes on each side, and place into a bowl with a plate over it (this helps to cook the courgettes as well).
2. Once all the courgettes have been griddled, put all the other ingredients into the bowl, toss, season to taste, and serve.

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