Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Shaved Courgette Salad

I've tried using courgettes in salads for years, always with disappointing results. What I realised recently is that depending on how you slice courgettes, they can either be very watery and limp or crisp and refreshing - cucumber behaves similarly. I believe it's dependent on what the slicing method does to the cell structure, which I surmise must be fairly fragile. Grating courgette bruises the cells and causes lots of water to be released, which is fine if you want to squeeze the shreds out and use them in, say, a cute little fried vegetable cake. For a salad, the perfect way to prepare them is to use a sharp vegetable peeler: hold the courgette upright, and use the peeler to make long thin strips, until you hit the seedy core. Rotate the courgette by ~30 degrees and peel again, until all you're left with is the seedy core, which you can eat raw or discard.

The rest of this salad follows naturally: a heady mix of balanced flavours which would work well as a side dish to anything, or even as a centrepiece with some quality serrano ham (or a strong, rinded goat's or brie-like cheese) and good crusty bread. The smaller the courgette you use, the more flavourful it will be, and the less core there will be to discard.


  • a few large sprigs of mint
  • half a lemon
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 3 baby or 1 medium courgette
  • olive oil

Rinse and finely chop the mint. Zest and juice the lemon. Peel the courgettes into long thin strips. Combine the courgettes, mint, lemon and a few glugs of olive oil. Season with salt and peper and scatter over the capers. Serve immediately.

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