Courgettes seem to be around all year, but try and cook with them when they are at their best in the summer and early autumn. They have a wonderful mild delicate flavour and soak up the flavours of all different spices and herbs brilliantly.
You can cook them in so many ways…… try cutting them in half lengthways, brush with olive oil and griddle or barbecue. Steam them, then toss together with freshly torn mint, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and a drizzle of runny honey. Sauté them in a little water, butter, lemon zest and garlic. Or try them in this frittata recipe cooked with fresh sage and garlic and topped with a soft sheeps milk cheese, snipped chives and chive flowers scattered on the top. If you can’t get hold of soft sheeps milk cheese use a soft goats cheese instead.
Lungo Bianco di Trieste is a trailing variety of courgette with a great flavour and successful yield. I will definitely grow this variety again next year and try out a golden/yellow variety too! I love the slightly stronger flavour (that might just be my taste buds) of the yellow/golden courgette and having a mixture of coloured courgettes looks great growing in the garden and looks so colourful on the plate.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 600g mix of green and yellow courgettes, cut on the diagonal about 1cm thick
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
- 20g butter
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 15 fresh sage leaves, finely sliced
- 100g soft sheeps milk cheese
- 1 heaped tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- 3 medium free range eggs
- 200ml double cream
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- small bunch of chives and chive flowers (if you have some)
- In a jug or small mixing bowl, whisk up the eggs, double cream and freshly grated parmesan cheese (if using).Season with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Heat the oil in a non stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the courgettes, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes, turn down the heat slightly if they start to over brown.
- Add the sage, lemon zest, butter and garlic and cook for a further 3 minutes.
- Add the egg mixture, stir briefly to combine, cover evenly with the soft sheeps milk cheese and allow to cook over a gentle heat for 5-6 minutes.
- Preheat the grill to high, place the frying pan under the grill (with the handle not under the heat!) for 4-5 minutes or until the friittata is golden and set.
- Slide out of the pan onto a chopping board, snip over some fresh chives and sprinkle over some chive flowers (if you have them).
I love cooking with fresh herbs, their unique flavours transform simple recipes into something really special. They are at their best when young and freshly picked, so it is well worth growing your own. Definitely have a go at growing some sage in your garden or in pots if you are short of space, its a brilliant herb with beautiful velvety leaves of pale green-grey. I grow the common garden sage as I think it is best for use in cooking. Like rosemary it does have a strong flavour, so go easy with it when adding it to your cooking, if over done it can start to make food taste slightly medicinal in flavour. Its a tough herb and can cope with long cooking, so ‘goes’ great in a sausage casserole or stuffed into the cavity of a free range chicken with half a lemon, transforming a roast chicken and its juices into a herby/ citrus sensation.
This frittata is lovely served with the red pepper, red onion, tomato and rosemary sauce.
If you are growing chives, use the flowers too in your cooking. When you pull away the little flowers from the main flower head they taste like little capsules of onion essence, seriously delicious and pretty! ; great sprinkled over salads, stews, soups etc.