Courgette Salad

Courgettes are one of my very favourite vegetables and I would gladly eat them all year round, if they tasted of anything in winter.  Anyway, it is now courgette season and if you have been organised enough to plant some, you’ll be reaping the rewards.  (I’m mostly enjoying things in my garden which have seeded themselves, although, apparently, urban pigeons have so much littered food to eat, they can afford to ignore my cherries. Hurrah!)  Here is a quick salad from Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book (Penguin, 1978).

Courgette Salad

Cook the courgettes whole in boiling, salted water. Drain them, then halve and quarter them. Mix with an olive oil and lemon juice vinaigrette (see lemonolatho, p559) while still hot. Just before serving, drain off any surplus liquid and turn the courgettes with plenty of parsley and chives. The secret is plenty of herbs and not just a niggardly sprinkling. If you grow basil, use that with a smaller amount of parsley and just a few chives, let the basil predominate.

Various sauces and dressings are detailed in the Appendix, including this Greek one:

125ml (4oz) Olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon each rigani [Greek oregano, according to Google] and dried mint
1 tablespoon chopped spring onions or chives
1 clove garlic, crushed

Beat all ingredients together and leave for a while before using. Season to taste just before pouring over the salad.

This was very simple and gorgeous. I didn’t make the lemonolatho dressing – I just used lemon juice and olive oil. I also cut the courgette into 8 pieces after cooking, not quarters. The courgettes were tender but not mushy (which is I assume the result of cooking them whole, something I have never done before and which requires a large saucepan!). The best thing about this salad is that it is both filling and hearty due to the size of the pieces of courgette and the olive oil, but it also has a softness and delicacy of flavour that grilled vegetables lack. (Of course, I love grilled vegetables, but not all the time.)

I reckon this would go equally well with white beans cooked with garlic or many kinds of cheese.  I first chose to have it as an accompaniment to a dainty sandwich of malt-y brown bread, grilled chicken and onions caramelised with balsamic vinegar. I bet this salad will taste even better after a day in the fridge. Do use fresh, young courgettes though – despite all the seasoning in this dish, the flavour of them has nowhere to hide.

We love requests! Craving a new recipe for your summer produce? Tell us about your glut (in the comments) and we’ll find you an old one!

Saladed by Elly

6 responses to “Courgette Salad

  1. Sounds yummy! What frustrates me about recipes like this is HOW long do you cook the courgettes? Confusing!

    Always keen to read more vintage vegetarian recipes 😀

  2. Bec – noted!

    I think the time needed will depend partly on the size of the courgette! I cooked mine until it felt slightly soft to the touch on the outside – as though it was an old courgette which had gone a bit bendy(!), I think this took about 7 minutes and the courgette I used was about an inch in diameter.

    As it absorbs the dressing it is softened further, so the cooking time doesn’t require a very high level of accuracy. I really should have included all this in the main post – so thank you for commenting!

  3. There’s a not-quite-vintage recipe for courgette salad in Prue Leith & Caroline Waldegrave’s ‘Cookery Bible’. Raw courgettes and carrots are sliced longways into ribbons with a veg peeler, then marinated in a French dressing for a couple of hours to soften them, add loads of chopped herbs and eat. Better than it sounds, and pretty.

  4. oh god, that sounds amazing!

  5. The vegetables keep some ‘bite’, good texture.

  6. This sounds delicious. Sadly my courgettes are not glutting at all. In fact they are barely bothering to do anything, but last night’s lone fruit is getting done this way tonight!