I don’t seem to know anyone who doesn’t produce courgettes. You can quickly end up with a veg-basket of rotting marrow as you desperately try to find things to do with them. Even people in London seem to turn up with them, pickled, jammed, or just whole. So, what to do?
I recently discovered Pul Biber, (or Aleppo Pepper or Turkish Chilli), in Waitrose, and you can get it online from various places. It has a lovely kick – but isn’t screamingly hot, and the Waitrose version is slightly acidic, earthy and not powdery, but finely cut. In many restaurants in Turkey, it is sat in a small dish beside the salt and pepper. The recipe itself came from a small roadside restaurant in Corsica. The natives of this French island have, after centuries of Mediterranean piracy, a hereditary inclination, at every opportunity, to charge like a wounded rhino. All tourists to this prettily rugged island, tend to have their wallets boarded in restaurants and emptied without mercy, but this place was the exception, and the owners were young and charming.
The recipe is simplicity itself. Wash, then top and tail the courgettes and peel slices off lengthways. The very first slice will be all skin – discard or keep, I discard as it tends to be a bit bitter. Now keep peeling slices off the courgette, onto a plate, until you see the seed core. Keep turning the courgettes until you end up with a plate full of slices of seedless courgettes with nice green sides. Repeat until you have enough.
Now add, finely chopped fresh mint (say one teaspoon per courgette); crumbled feta cheese to taste; add olive oil and lemon juice and toss with your hands. Add a good sprinkling of the Pul Biber, so you can see its bright red colour speckled throughout the salad.
Taste, adjust adding more cheese, more lemon juice or more pul biber. Add Salt and pepper.
Variations on a theme:
- Dry fry some pine nuts until you can smell them – throw them in.
- Alternatively, use crushed walnuts and use (very little – it is potent) walnut oil.