For Susie, Linda and Roisin or anyone else with an allotment or garden that’s about to really give birth to a load of courgettes….
This is a version of my friend Maxine Clark’s recipe for a Middle Eastern courgette puree. And I love it.
The texture completely changes when cooked this way. You end up with a delicious, soft, moist, gooey puree, that has body to it. Try it for yourself. So bloody easy too.
Brilliant as a dip with warmed flat bread or as as veg accompaniment. Your mouth it will melt in!
Put 2 large courgetttes, (They must be whole.) to steam or into a pan of cold water. Cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and steam/simmer for 1 hour or alternatively, or place them in a roasting tray or baking dish, cover with foil and bake, (200 C/400 F/Gas 6) for about an hour too.
Either way the courgettes will be completely soft, but still holding together. Drain or hook them out (they are nearly collapsing, so be careful) and set aside in a large bowl, while you crush 3-4 garlic cloves with a little sea salt.
Heat a small frying pan and scatter in 1 teaspoon cumin seeds. Cook for a minute or two, shaking the pan, now and then until they smell rich but not burnt.
Tip them into a pestle and mortar or failing that a mug and the end of a rolling pin, (or rollover the seeds on a board.) and crush the seeds roughly.Top and tail the courgette then using a fork, crush and mash the courgette with the garlic and cumin seeds.
As you do this, trickle in extra virgin olive oil until you have a cohesive mass.
Taste for seasoning, (you may only need black pepper) and squeeze in the juice of 1/2 lemon. Taste, adjust again if need be.
The day after I made the puree I had a nice, quiet, late, lunch, Sunday in my studio. (this was May when I first posted this, but now the courgette season is coming into it’s own….) I pan fried a small piece of gammon steak and sat that on a bed of the warmed puree and topped with a poached egg. Freshly ground black pepper and you’re off with a smile on your face.
Try caraway seeds instead of the cumin. I’m never too sure about caraway, but here is probably the only exception that I really include it anywhere.
© Annie Nichols 2010