Courgette Salad

Day 5 of the courgette week gives us a fresh summer salad.

Young courgettes make a lovely salad because you retain all of the fresh flavour of the courgette.  The dressing I have made uses lemon juice because courgette and lemon is a match made in heaven and I have also added chilli flakes for a little kick of heat.  The pine nuts add a bit of extra crunch but if you don’t like them you could try adding nuts instead.

This salad makes a great side dish for grilled meats or you could add some mozzarella and crusty bread to make it a meal in itself.

Ingredients

2 or 3 medium sized Courgettes

Juice of 1 Lemon

1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

1 tsp Dried Chilli Flakes

A small handful of chopped Parsley

2 tbsp Pine Nuts

6 or 8 Cherry Tomatoes (halved)

Method

Mix together the lemon juice, olive oil and chilli flakes in a large bowl and season well with salt and pepper.

Trim the ends off the courgettes and cut lengthways into long, thin strips.  The easiest way to do this is with a potato peeler or mandolin if you have one.  I discard the first and last strip because they are mostly peel but this is purely a matter of personal taste.

Toast the pine nuts in a frying pan over a medium heat and set aside to cool.

Toss the courgette strips in the dressing and leave to marinate for half an hour.

Just before serving add the tomatoes and parsley and toss together.  Arrange on a serving plate, sprinkle with the pine nuts and serve.

Look here for more courgette recipes.

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Fennel and Orange Salad

In a quiet moment this week I found myself idly flicking through the pages of one of my favourite food books:  The Flavour Thesaurus is perfect for browsing and often throws up surprising flavour combinations.  I opened it at random on a section called Green & Grassy and found Anise and Orange.  These flavours are best known in a Harvey Wallbanger (vodka, orange juice and Galliano (a liqueur flavoured with, amongst other things, star anise) but I was reminded of a particularly scrummy salad I first ate in a pub in the New Forest.

Juicy orange segments are teamed with fine slices of aniseedy fennel and sharp red onion rings.  I love serving this with grilled fish or barbecued chicken but it makes a perfect light lunch on its own or with the addition of a few walnuts and/or black olives to ring the changes.

Ingredients

Serves 2 as a side dish

2 Oranges

1 Small Bulb Fennel

1 Small Red Onion

1 Lemon (juiced)

2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

Method

Snip and reserve the green fronds from the top of the fennel, remove the outer layer if it is a bit brown and wrinkly, finely slice the remaining fennel and toss it in the lemon juice to stop it browning.  If you have a mandolin it’s the perfect way to get nice fine slices.  Peel and slice the onion into rings and add to the fennel and lemon juice.

Segment the orange (See here for a “how to” video) over a bowl so that you catch the juice.  Place the fennel, orange segments and onion into a large bowl.

Make your dressing from the olive oil, orange juice and lemon juice.  You want about 3 parts oil to 1 part citrus juice but adjust according to your own taste and how sweet / sharp you want it to be.  Whisk together, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add a few snipped fennel fronds.

Toss the salad in the dressing and serve.