Hello Summer, you glorious golden creature. After months of wind, rain, hail and snow here in Bootle, I’ve responded to the return of the sunshine in the time-honoured British fashion – getting my milk bottle white (and slightly scabby) legs out and drinking as much chilled booze as my liver can handle. I may be weighed down with the burden of hayfever and going running may make me resemble a giant singing piece of spam but I feel that these are both small prices to pay to be able to waft along to ASDA in cotton summer dresses and flip flops.
The advent of sunshine also makes me long for salads. Fresh, crunchy salads that can be thrown together in moments, filled with glorious summer produce – like the three baby courgettes I found nestled in Friday’s veg box delivery. Usually I’d use them up in a ratatouille or a tart but the mere thought of switching my oven on in this heat makes my forehead break out in a Pavlovian prickle of sweat. So, I decided to make like the Italians and create this courgette carpaccio.
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, lemon zest, 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. Light, tangy and delicious, it’s just the thing to go alongside a roast chicken and a large glass of something cold and fizzy. It’s also a brilliant way to use up the glut of courgettes some of you gardeners may find piling up at this time of year. Getting one of your five a day never tasted so chilled.
COURGETTE CARPACCIO WITH GOATS CHEESE, LEMON AND CHILLI (Serves two people, or one hungry food blogger)
You will need:
- 2 small courgettes
- The juice of a lemon
- 1 tsp lemon peel (make sure that it doesn’t have any of the pith still attached to it, as this will make it bitter)
- 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.
- Place the courgette rounds into a medium bowl and (carefully!) toss with the lemon zest and chilli flakes.
- Arrange on a plate (I like arranging them in a pretty overlapping pattern, but that’s because I’m all about the Pinterest-friendly pictures) 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.