Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Roasted Baby Courgettes with Cous-Cous and Apricot Topping

Another recipe inspired by Nigel Slater's Tender, but one that I think needs some modification to be perfect. He bakes the courgettes for only 25 minutes, but I found that was not nearly long enough, and more like 55 minutes was needed if baking from raw. I also found that the topping was nice but a certain piquancy was missing. These problems can be easily remedied by adapting a method I usually use for Proven├žal tomatoes: frying them in a very hot pan for 5 minutes and then drenching in balsamic vinegar before baking in the oven with the topping. I have yet to try it on this recipe but I'll suggest it here as I think it would be an improvement.

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 baby courgettes, washed and halved lengthwise
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 100g cous-cous
  • half a white onion
  • one slice of bread
  • a small bunch of parsley
  • a handful of dried apricots
  • a handful of pistachio kernels, unsalted
  • 200g natural yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200 C. Fry the baby courgettes in olive oil, first round-side down, then cut-side down, for 1-2 minutes (depending on thickness) each side, using a griddle (nice char marks) or frying-pan (more even cooking). When golden and seared, place in them in a baking dish, cut side up.

Meanwhile, prepare the cous-cous according to its packet instructions: I cover in boiling water in a 2:1 ratio, add a bit of butter and some vegetable stock powder, stir once then cover with a plate for 10 minutes. Finely chop the onion and gently fry in olive oil for 3-4 minutes. Whiz the bread and parsley in a blender to make breadcrumbs. Roughly chop the apricots and pistachios, then combine with the cooked cous-cous and breadcrumbs, and onions. Season well and scatter over the singed courgettes, cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.

Combine the yoghurt, white wine vinegar and olive oil, and serve the courgettes with this dressing to spoon over. (We had a little prosciutto on the side for protein.)

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