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Courgette – or zucchini – doesn’t seem to have an indigenously English name, one is borrowed from French, the other from Italian. (Except when you call it summer squash, which is just plain WRONG.) Surprising considering how well and abundantly it grows in England.
Man, does it grow. I have a tiny vegetable plot and in the past years we would plant two or three courgette plants which resulted in having to eat the thing breakfast, lunch and dinner for the whole summer. Or let it grow into marrows and put up in a gardening contest. Or make tonnes of cake (cake? yes, cake, more at a later date). Or ignore it and hope snails will eat it (they never do).
So these days we just plant one, and still end up with endless supply of the greenies. We cleverly pick them early too, when firm and small.
I like courgette but do agree it needs some oomph to make it less bland and it must borrow flavour from elsewhere – tomato sauce for instance. What isn’t made more flavoursome with a bit of tomato sauce?
This is my take on melanzane parmigiana making it zucchini parmigiana, except it’s zucchini alla pecorino in this instance thus making it quite a different dish – let’s stick to courgette gratin, shall we?
courgette gratinServings: 2Time: about an hour
- two or three medium courgettes
- a little oil to grill the courgettes
- tomato sauce (recipe here)
- about 30g pecorino or parmesan cheese, coarsely grated
1. Heat up a heavy griddle pan or grill. Top and tail the courgettes, slice the skin thinly off two sides and cut into long strips, about 1cm thick, along the length. Brush with olive oil and griddle on both sides until charred and cooked.
2. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas 5.
3. In a gratin pan spread a third of the tomato sauce at the bottom, then layer half the courgette slices. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with a third of the grated cheese. Repeat with a courgette layer, cheese, tomato sauce and the rest of the cheese – generously – on top.
4. Bake for 30-40 minutes until bubbly and scorched – if you use hard cheese like pecorino or parmesan it won’t melt but form a crust. Let it stand for a few minutes before serving.