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Zucchini is a variety of cucurbit, which means it’s from the same family as cucumber, squash and melon. It’s one of the most popular vegetables in the squash family, being extremely versatile, tender and easy to cook. Just don’t boil them!
They have a deep green skin with firm pale flesh and are also known as Courgettes. Courgette is the French name, Zucchini the Italian. The skin of the Zucchini is delicate. It's white flesh is both firm and spongy. It has a sweet squash flavour with notes of nuttiness. Zucchini is a low calorie food that is suited for both sweet and savoury dishes.
It’s best not to boil them, as they become mushy and lose their flavour. Instead lightly fry in butter or oil and a small amount of water. You can also roast them until tender and lightly golden to intensify their flavour, or marinate and BBQ or griddle until charred and soft. Enjoy them in a stir-fry, curry or fried in a light batter. Zucchini’s best friend must be cheese, Parmesan, feta, ricotta and many more all go hand-in-hand with this summer vegetable.
You can eat zucchini raw, e.g. thinly sliced or finely shredded in a salad. But the mild flavour emerges much better if you cook it.
Grate for zucchini fritters, fry, grill, oven bake, braise, boil or deep fry.
Fried courgettes are a fixture on the meze tables of the Mediterranean. Pour plenty of olive oil into a pan and fry thin slices or thick sticks, depending on the final texture you’re aiming for.
Make veggie fritters: Grate the zucchini, salt it and leave to stand for an hour. Squeeze out the liquid and mix the grated courgette feta cheese/halloumi, pepper, dill/mint, flour and egg. Mix together and fry the fritters until golden brown in olive oil.
Grilled courgette! Cut it lengthwise or diagonally into slices to give you a flat surface to decorate with grilled stripes. Place on the grill. If you want your vegetables to have more flavour, take the warm courgette and marinate it after cooking in a balsamic vinaigrette.
Oven bake zucchini with other vegetables on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with sea salt and place in the oven at 190°C for 30-40 minutes.
A quick dinner: Cook pasta. Fry courgette. Roast pine nuts. Grate parmesan. Mix pesto and the courgette into the pasta and sprinkle with parmesan and roasted pine nuts.
Ratatouille, French vegetable stew with zucchini, aubergine, tomato, onion, pepper, thyme and garlic.