Glut is such a wonderful word. Glut.
Its harsh consonants give it the feel of one of the more abrasive swear words but it also has an inherent softness that makes it warm and cosy – a small cuddle of a word that presents ample opportunity for elaboration.
Glut. Glutton. Gluttony. Gluttonous. Gluttonously.
Words that speak of the decadently indecent.
The garden is, finally, offering up its bounty. Potatoes were dug up a fortnight ago, the maize stems are starting to bulge at the halfway point suggesting that sweetcorn is not far off. The tomatoes are barely threatening to turn from acidic green to sweet red and the courgettes?
The courgettes are taking over.
For each that we pick, two more seem to grow in their place overnight. They are like the mythical Hydra and I am failing in my Herculean task.
As a result we have them lined up in the kitchen, a rag tag bunch of all shapes and sizes. The Usual Suspects as re-imagined by a vegan pacifist.
They’ve made their way into most things. Last night’s lasagne had a layer of them, thinly sliced, in between the ragu, pasta and béchamel. Diced and fried with a little garlic added at the last minute, they make an excellent addition to pasta.
Those that hid deftly under the expansive leaves and transformed into marrows have their insides scooped out and replaced with a tasty filling before being roasted.
I’m well aware that I am not alone. Courgettes seem to be as ubiquitous as Simon Cowell this summer so here is a ten point plan for what to do with them. You might guess that by the end, I was struggling. But that might be because I used up all the good ideas above…
One – Courgette Fries
I first had these crispy little bites of wonder at Italian restaurant l’Anima. Finely sliced and dipped in a light batter, deep fried courgettes are a joy and the perfect vehicle for some rich aioli.
Two – Courgette Bread
Grated and added to a sweetened bread mix in place of – or in addition to – banana, courgette adds a welcome moisture to this cake.
Three – Baked Courgette and Tomato
Layer thinly sliced courgette into a roasting dish, season and cover with a rich tomato sauce. Add another layer of courgette, more sauce and then cover liberally with cheese. Bake for 25 minutes and eat straight from the dish. Plates not necessary.
Four – Chutney
Ah, the forgotten art of preserving. Courgettes are perfect chutney fodder and take on a remarkable range of flavours beautifully, especially warming spices. We have a solitary jar of last year’s ‘Glutney’ left and it’s disappearing fast. most delicious with cheese and cold cuts. There are plenty of recipes out there but this one from HFW is a real winner.
Five – Roasted courgette with pine nuts
Simple, quick and very good with pasta. Slice or dice, dribble with oil, season, throw in a handful of pine nuts and bake. Top with Parmesan and commence nom.
Six – Barbecued Courgettes
Chargrilling courgettes really brings out a depth of flavour that is often lost when they are boiled or steamed (eurgh). Make sure your griddle or barbie is searingly hot so you get those tasty black tiger stripes on thin slices of courgette and serve with a sweet/sour yoghurty dressing.
Seven – Courgette Wine
I have no idea if this is possible but it must be worth a go? Anyone? Hello?
Eight – Doorstep Courgettes
Wait until nightfall. Take one, two or three of your largest courgettes and leave them on the doorsteps of your neighbours. Run. Go to bed happy in the knowledge that you’ve successfully ridded yourself of that particular problem. Until tomorrow and you discover that your neighbours had exactly the same idea.
Nine – Stuffed Courgette Flowers
OK, so this doesn’t really help you with eating your way through the courgette mountain taking over the kitchen but they are tasty. Stuff the flowers with well seasoned ricotta, dip in batter and deep fry. I cannot recommend these highly enough.
Ten – Courgette Portraits
Take pictures of your courgettes in various different poses and use them to illustrate a piece on what to do with a courgette glut. Realise that you still have nineteen to eat and a further seven peeping through the vegetable patch. Give up and promise not to plant so many next year.