I know that it’s a bit of a cliché to moan about the weather, but seriously summer, where the hell are you? I’ve been reliably informed that a heatwave is on its way, but I remain sceptical. Then again, I work in one of the rainiest parts of a rainy country, and I often wonder if it would just be cheaper to get myself laminated rather than spend another tenner on an umbrella which – inevitably – breaks.
So, I am forced to search for summer in my vegetable box. At the moment, it’s bursting with glorious green vegetables – big bunches of spinach, plump broad beans and crunchy courgettes. Usually I like to throw them in pastas, ratatouilles and stews, but sometimes I feel like getting a bit more inventive, which is how this courgette ‘capaccio’ came about.
This isn’t a conventional carpaccio, given that it comprises vegetables rather than meat, but it’s still prepared the same way. Paper thin slices of courgette are dotted with goats cheese, preserved lemon zest (my new favourite ingredient), red chilli flakes and a good glug of extra virgin olive oil. Don’t have any goats cheese to hand? Ricotta or feta will do just as well. Served with a roast chicken, a hunk of bread and a glass of crisp white wine and you can almost believe that summer is here…even if you have the central heating on.
COURGETTE CARPACCIO WITH GOATS CHEESE, PRESERVED LEMON AND CHILLI (Serves two people as a side, or one person as a large salad)
A version of this recipe was originally posted on Little Red Courgette (my old blog!)
You will need:
- 2 small courgettes
- The juice of a lemon
- The peel from two preserved lemons
- 50g soft goats cheese
- 1 tsp red chilli flakes
- A large glug of extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to season
- Top and tail the courgettes and slice thinly. You may wish to do this using a mandoline but I just used a sharp vegetable knife.
- Slice the preserved lemons in half and scoop out the flesh (you can either discard this, or reserve it for another recipe.) Chop the peel finely.
- Place the courgette rounds into a medium bowl and (carefully!) toss with the lemon peel and chilli flakes.
- Arrange on a plate in an overlapping pattern, and dot with the goats cheese.
- Drizzle over the lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Season with the salt and pepper and serve immediately.