The courgette is a member of the cucumber family. Sometimes called zucchini, courgettes are basically immature marrows. They are the best loved of all the squashes as they are so versatile. They can be steamed, boiled, stir-fried, sautéed, stewed, grilled, roasted, deep-fried and baked. They may vary in colour from very dark green through pale green to yellow. They are a very good source of Vitamin A and a good source of Vitamin C and folic acid.
Preparing and Using
Courgettes taste best when eaten immediately after they have been picked. When buying,they should be firm with a glossy looking skin.Avoid any that feel squashy or generally look limp, as they will be dry and not worth using.
Tiny courgettes need no preparation at all. Other courgettes should be topped and tailed and then prepared according to the recipe,either sliced or slit for stuffing. Courgettes can be used in dishes such as ratatouille, stews,soups, chutneys and relishes as well as being served as a vegetable side dish, on their own,or mixed with others.
Baby courgettes need little or no cooking.They can be steamed whole or just blanched.Sliced larger courgettes can be steamed or boiled but shouldn’t be overcooked as they will go soggy very quickly. Slices of courgette can be dipped in batter or breadcrumbs and shallow or deep-fried to make a starter, dipping vegetable or side dish to serve with a main course.
Courgettes can be turned or sliced into ribbons or vegetable spaghetti. They can be used to garnish dishes and buffets and their flowers can be stuffed and served as a starter.Courgettes can be roasted with crushed garlic and basil or grilled with a selection of other vegetables such as peppers and aubergines.
Flavours and ingredients that go well with courgettes include tomato, oregano, aubergine, onion, cheese,oriental spices, basil and ginger.