The noun vegetable indicates an edible plant or part of a plant, but frequently rules out seeds and generally sweet fruit, this in general means the leaf, stem, or root of a plant.
In a non-biological sense, the consequence of this word is in the main founded on culinary and cultural belief therefore, the use of the word is to some extent random and skewed. For example, some people believe mushrooms to be vegetables even though they are not biologically plants; they are fungi while others consider them a separate food category.
Anyway enough of all that let’s get to the vegetable of the week!
Here in the United Kingdom we often just use courgettes to make a very insipid ratatouille or use it in some appalling way to make a vegetarian dish, please try to avoid doing this to a poor vegetable that is just trying to please you.
The courgette is a delightful tender vegetable with a clean tantalizing flavour and although it wasn’t eaten very much in Europe before the 20th century it is believed to have been developed from the squash and squash have been cultivated in the Americas for more the 5 thousand years, today the courgette is very popular in Mexico and Japan and modern European cuisine would not be the same without the courgette.
And just like the aubergine, the courgette was brought to the interest of the British in the mid-twentieth century thanks to the writings of Elizabeth David.
Courgettes are in the same family as watermelons, gherkins, and cucumbers.
Courgettes are more often than not marrows harvested when very young, even though the older fruit of a number of kinds of squash may well also be sold as courgettes.
Best British Season Is;
June, July, August, September, October
Buying Courgettes, Zucchini, Italian Squash
You are going to be looking for the smaller, younger, firm, heavy courgettes they have more flavour, only buy those with unblemished bright glossy skins.
Storing Courgettes, Zucchini, Italian Squash
They do not keep for long so it is best to use them as soon as possible however they will keep for 3 to 5 days in the salad drawer of a fridge.
Preparing and Cooking Courgettes, Zucchini, Italian Squash
- Wash well and trim both ends.
- The courgette is a versatile ingredient which you can bake, fry, steam or stew according to the recipe you are using
- Courgette flowers are often to be found on the menus of many French and Italian restaurants.
- Smaller flowers are sometimes dipped in a tempura batter and deep fried, the larger flowers are typically stuffed with tomatoes and herbs or goat’s cheese.
Recipes for Courgettes
- Summer Courgette Soup, by Baz & Mads This is a great summer recipe especially if you have lots of home-grown courgettes.
- Prosecco and Courgette Flower Risotto, By CookeryHolidays
- Easy Courgette and Bacon Flan, By su-chef, This flan is quick, moist and can be eaten hot or cold. Great if you have an abundance of courgettes so use in the garden.
- Courgette and Spring Onion Soup, By Ian and Sue McGill, This “Oh so easy soup” is delicious. It is also very good if watercress is substituted for the spring onions
- Recipe for Zucchini Bake with Feta and Thyme (kalynskitchen.com)
- Zucchini and spinach gratin, tian de courgettes aux feuilles de blettes (atfirstglass.com)
- Little Squashes Everywhere (justbeproofdoandexist.wordpress.com)
- Global Warming and Zucchini (pigletinportugal.com)
- Zucchini Noodles with Tomato Bruschetta // Low Carb Pasta (happygoodtime.com)