JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Courgette salad

Until I started growing courgettes, I wasn't that keen to eat them. The ones you buy in the supermarket don't taste of much, and they have a lot of seeds. The ones you grow (and see my post about melons, below, they really grow themselves) don't have many seeds, and do have a lot of taste (only the children still won't eat them). Today, I spent a lot of the day looking forward to supper, because I wanted to eat:

Delicious courgette and lemon salad

Use one courgette per person, and half a lemon per two courgettes.

Slice courgettes lengthwise using a potato peeler. This is a piece of equipment which has a place in my kitchen only because my husband and children will not use a knife to peel potatoes. I use a knife, as I'm not keen on gadgets. But I discovered today that the easiest way to slice courgettes thinly is with a potato peeler. It's quite wasteful, but I put the bits on the compost heap, and, anyway, there are a lot of courgettes.

Make a dressing with lemon juice and zest, olive oil and a little honey or sugar to sweeten. Salt and pepper, obviously. Add some toasted pine nuts (not too many, otherwise they'll end up in the bin, because the courgettes are the thing here). Also chopped parsley.

This recipe comes, slightly adapted, from Sarah Raven in last Sunday's Observer food supplement. I'm going to add a link to Sarah's website, because she taught me to garden. I went to a couple of her courses; very expensive, like her seeds and other stuff from her catalogue, but well worth it. In the case of her courses, she has given me the lasting gift of enthusiasm for the garden and gardening, plus the feeling that everything is possible - a hugely important gift. In the case of her seed etc catalogue, she has such a good eye that everything in the catalogue is worth buying.

I'd just like to say here that this is the first year I've ever grown parsley. We have a huge glut of it, so it goes on all sorts of things. I often go out into the garden with a torch to pick it. Sometimes I don't bother with the torch, and just go in the dark. You can smell the parsley. It has a strong smell, and it is juicy. It is nothing like the parsley you buy wrapped in plastic. It is delicious. It is worth growing. It is cheaper to grow it. I would now grow it in a pot on a windowsill if that was the only place I could grow it. And if I couldn't germinate it (this is the first year I've managed), then I'd plant up some of the plants you can buy all year round in the supermarket. And, yes, I'm talking about ordinary curly parsley, not the fashionable flat leafed stuff.

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