New recipes and updates

Get new recipes
in your inbox

Cuisine Fiend

Find a recipe by ingredient

Oven roasted courgette with maple syrup

Sat, 12 August, 2023

My take on Thomas Keller scored zucchini is really much better, I’m afraid. It’s hot and sweet and acidic which is what the bland and boring courgette needs, no matter how much you score it. Also, I call it ‘courgette’, which is better because it has a plural form.

oven roasted courgette with maple syrup

Viral courgette

There is a viral courgette recipe doing rounds at the moment which you might be familiar with – unless, of course, you’re reading this in 2035.

It’s oven-roasted courgette or rather zucchini, as its father is the American chef, Thomas Keller. It has already spawned a myriad YouTube, Instagram and TikTok videos as well as tonnes of blog posts.

What’s the deal? In my humble opinion, nothing special.

The courgette is sliced lengthwise in half, scored in a diamond pattern on the inside surface, then shallow fried, scored side down, in hot oil. Following that, it goes into the oven for a spell and then it’s served with a topping: sauce vierge or chimichurri.

Rave comments wax lyrically about the creaminess (I call it mushiness) and the flavour (never knew they had any) of the courgettes. It’s supposed to be a ‘life changing’ recipe! Blimey. It all beats me a little bit.

The dish doesn’t even look that nice: true, the scored pattern chars and opens up nicely, but it’s all covered by the topping which, depending on what kind you make, enhances anything it’s put on, possibly including cardboard.

roasted scored courgettes

So what’s my take on it?

I really don’t think courgettes, even twice cooked, are superbly flavoursome on their own, creamy or not. But they will certainly improve when seasoned with a little heat, a little acid and a lot of sweetness.

Made like this, they don’t change anyone’s life but are a lovely side to a meat dish: pan seared duck fillet, steak or game.

scored zucchini with maple syrup and paprika

How to prepare my courgettes?

I don’t have an issue with scoring and salting the slices, leaving them face down on paper towels for a while to draw out as much moisture as possible. Watery vegetables benefit from salting and sitting, expelling excess water, because it intensifies flavour – or what little flavour there is in zucchini.

scored courgettes

Then frying, face down again, in only a little oil as I don’t like them swimming in grease, but for longer over medium heat so they don’t burn but uniformly char on the scored surface.

frying courgettes

I then transfer them face up onto a baking tray lined with parchment, rather than whacking the frying pan with the oil into the oven, and sprinkle them gently but thoroughly with hot smoked paprika. In they go, for about 15-20 minutes depending on the courgette variety.

oven ready courgettes

What courgette varieties are there?

They come in the elongated or round shapes, and they can be various shades of green, or yellow.

There is also a white variety, star-shaped, called patisson or patty pan but they are more popular on the continent than in the UK.

I think I like the yellow varieties best – or maybe it’s just the cheerful hue that I find more appealing?

yellow round courgettes

My courgette flavour combo

Back to the courgettes, baking in the oven. Towards the end of the cooking time I drizzle each slice generously with maple syrup and return them to the oven. On exit and just before serving I squirt half a lime over the tray – and they are ready to accompany that duck or whatever.

I’ll argue quite passionately that it is the sweet-hot-acid combination that transforms the courgette, not the frying-roasting.

I first learned how wonderful that flavour combo was while making corn ribs, and ever since I’ve been adding just that seasoning to sweetcorn which – just like zucchini – isn’t renowned for its strong taste.

So this recipe is most likely nowhere near viral, but if you have stumbled upon it and tried, I think you’ll be grateful.

oven roasted hot and sweet courgettes

More courgette recipes

Caramelised courgettes with basil and garlic: is it a sauce, a condiment, a side dish? All of those and more.

Tian de courgettes, courgette and spinach gratin, courgette bake - however you call it, it's a great vegetarian recipe. Zucchini and spinach are a well matched couple appearing in risottos, pasta and frittatas.

Raw courgette ribbons marinated with lemon and tossed with raisins, almonds, pistachios and nori flakes – a gorgeous courgette salad made without spiralizer but with a vegetable peeler.

More summer side dish recipes

Green beans with Parmesan cream – a creamy casserole of green beans in cheese sauce. The Parmesan cream is easier to make than thermidor or mornay sauce and can easily replace either in a variety of dishes.

Piperade is the Basque take on ratatouille with the heat of espelette pepper. This recipe is easy and simple, like a lot of best things in life.

Sauteed wild mushrooms, chanterelles and pied de mouton. Cook wild mushrooms simply, with only a little seasoning: salt, pepper and a dash of cream.

maple and paprika scored courgettes

Oven roasted courgette with maple syrup

Servings: 2Time: 1 hour


  • 2 round or 4 long medium courgettes
  • sea salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • hot smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ lime, juice only


1. Cut the courgettes vertically into about 2 cm/ ¾ inch thick slices: it will be on average 4 slices from a round and 2 from a green courgette. Score the inside/one side with a sharp knife in a diamond pattern. Sprinkle the scored sides liberally with salt and place them, salted side down, on paper towels for 10-15 minutes.

2. Prepare a large roasting tray lined with parchment. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6.

3. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add the oil, or half the oil if cooking in batches. Pat the courgettes dry with paper towels and place in the pan, scored side down. Cook for 10 minutes until charred. Transfer to the parchment, charred side up, and continue until they are all done.

4. Sprinkle the courgettes lightly with paprika and slide the tray into the oven. Roast for 25 minutes.

5. Remove the tray from the oven, drizzle each courgette slice with maple syrup and return to the oven for 5-7 minutes until the syrup is bubbling.

6. Squeeze the lime over the courgettes and serve.

NEW recipe finder

Ingredients lying around and no idea what to cook with them? Then use my NEW Recipe Finder for inspiration!

Recipe Finder

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published

Characters left 800
Recipe rating
Email address*
Web site name
Be notified by email when a comment is posted

* required

Cuisine Fiend's

most recent

About me

Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


Sign up to receive the weekly recipes updates

Follow Fiend