I grew just one variety of courgette this year- the glorious, round orb ‘Tondo di Nizza’. I am thoroughly enjoying this spherical specimen, it’s surprisingly sweet and you’d be hard pressed to find it in the supermarket; a novelty that has yet to wear off.
After stuffing them with Persian rice, using them as sheets of vegetable lasagne, and playing a game of courgette boules, we’re still heaving under the weight of the inevitable courgette glut. You see, on top of courgettes infamously being prolific producers, I planted more than a few seeds in early spring that all ended up doing so well I hadn’t the heart to make Sophie’s Choice, and what with a lack of foresight into what that would mean come harvesting time (it means swimming in a sea of marrow monsters) I let them all carry on flourishing. The reward? Endless round balls of glory.
A big part of the joy and satisfaction of growing and harvesting your own food is being able to share the spoils with friends and family… well I’ve been pressing all the surplus courgettes I can on unsuspecting friends, family and even colleagues in the guise of gifts and goody bags since last month, and the initially moderate amount of enthusiasm is finally beginning to wane. Last week, my father was the unfortunate receiver of the mighty monster marrow that hid from me before a trip away- It grew to the size of Cinderella’s pumpkin.
A great way to deal with courgette glut, I’ve learnt, is just feed it to everyone; as much as you you can, in as many different ways as you can. There’s only so many times you can insist people take courgettes off your hands, much better to disguise them in a let-me-cook-for-you-round-my-place evening meal. What finer excuse to throw a sumptuous feast of a dinner party to show off your proud produce! And if you don’t grow your own… well you can have some of mine. Either way, if you’re consuming courgettes at this time of year, you are most definitely eating seasonally.
Here is my easy, go-to recipe. A charming, rustic and informal starter that will take the weight off your courgette pile, and make it the star of the show; super simple yet mouth wateringly good. Served as a warm starter, it can be prepared ahead of time and thrown in the pan to heat through when you’re ready.
1 large onion
4 large garlic cloves (it’s the season to harvest garlic too)
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
50g parmesan shavings
A small handful of parsley
Salt and pepper
Roughly chop up your courgettes, heat a generous glug of oil in the pan and sautéed until softened. Add the garlic and some fennel seeds and cook for a minute before the garlic begins to brown, then add your courgette and cook for 20 minutes or until the courgette are tender, golden brown and practically collapsing in the pan. Season to taste and serve with lashings of Parmesan, parsley and toast.