Back in the Spring, desperate for sunshine and warmth, I was so infatuated with my veg patch that I conveniently ignored that fact that I was leaving town for most of the summer. I was in denial about the fact that the fledgling plants, already set back by the dreadful Spring of 2013, were going to have to go it on their own while I took the Fives back to the States to visit family and friends.
How did the crop fare? Anything that grew faster than weeds thrived. Anything that couldn’t was stunted. Thought pretty much everything did survive. Ain’t mother nature great? The biggest winners: rainbow chard, kale and courgette (zucchini for my American friends). The Fives and I harvested bags full last weekend (along with twice as many bags full of weeds…).
Chard and kale will be with us for a while, but the curse of courgette is that when it is in season, it is so prolific that people run out of ways to use it. So I offer you two ways to use up your courgette bounty without being bored to death. First up, a simple salad that takes mere minutes to make and doesn’t require an oven or stove. Tomorrow, I’ll share something a little more sophisticated.
Courgette Noodle Salad with Sesame Dressing
This is a simple flavor combinations that is greater than the sum of its parts. If you have a julienne peeler or mandoline, this is the place to use it. This serves 4 as a side dish, 2 as the base for a main. I like to serve this like a noodle bowl, topped with poached salmon and cashews.
3 medium to large courgette/zucchini
2 medium carrots
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1-2 tsp soy sauce sesame seeds, preferably black (just ‘cause they’re pretty, the regular ones are fine of course)
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
- Slice courgette into thin strips. Use the colorful skin and firmer flesh. Do not use the softer, seeded core. (You can reserve for another use, like gazpacho or vegetable juice). Slice the carrot the same way.
- Toss the courgette and carrot noodles with salt and leave to drain in a colander for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.
- Whisk together sesame oil, rice wine vinegar and soy sauce. Taste – all of the elements should be present but none should dominate. Adjust as necessary. If the dressing is too acidic, add a few drops of honey or sugar.
- Once the vegetable noodles are softened, quickly rinse with cold water and dry on paper towels. Toss with dressing and sesame seeds. Garnish with spring onions.