Zucchini-onion tian & zucchini salad

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Zucchini glut and how to cope

Every year there is the inevitable zucchini glut and even if we are far away from my Mum’s garden to be regular recipients of said glut our weekly veg box can be trusted to contain some sort of courgette (aka zucchini or squash). So, time to hastily add a few zucchini recipes that require minimum effort and work since leisure time for lengthy prep or delicate tweezer action suddenly has become a rare luxury in this house, wonder why…

First a simple zucchini and onion tian, a Provençal gratin where I veer away (just a little) from tradition by arranging the vegetable slices in a fan rather than fitting them snug upright in the namesake earthenware dish. It looks pretty and shortens the cooking time considerably – these days a necessary requirement of any dish we’ll have. Thyme adds its irresistible resin perfume reminiscent of the Provençal hills and makes this a great side dish to lamb (little cumin coated lamb brochettes are my latest favourite) or a grilled fish like sea bass.

Secondly, a light summer salad and absolute of mine: thin zucchini slices in a lemony dressing. Even when made ahead of time zucchini keep a firmer texture and some bite unlike the similar tasting cucumber would. I shave long ribbons of small green and yellow courgettes (no big squashes here) with a mandolin or vegetable peeler and dress these courgette pappardelle quite simply with lemon juice, oil, salt & pepper. You can’t get a lighter but substantial salad that lends itself to any main dish, said lamb brochettes again a firm contender these days. The recipe for those should come soon (hopefully) but I’ll have to make them again since I am much too greedy hungry these days and wolf anything down in record time (in the spirit of ‘Eating-while-it’s-hot’).

 

 

zucchini-onion tian


Zucchini-onion tian

Feeds 2-3 people as a side dish. Loosely after Stéphane Reynaud.

 

2-3 medium Zucchini
3 small onions
a few sprigs of thyme
olive oil
salt & pepper

 

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 375° F.

Cut zucchini into 5mm rounds, onions into slightly thinner slices. Arrange alternately in an ovenproof dish big enough to have a slanting fan of zucchini & onion slices rather than them being tightly packed like a roll of coins. Place thyme sprigs in the gaps, sprinkle with a generous splash of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 20-30 minutes until the vegetables are cooked and slightly browned around the edges.

 

 

 

 


Zucchini salad

 

Thin green & yellow courgettes / zucchini
lemon juice
olive oil
salt & pepper

 

Shave thin slices of zucchini / courgettes with a mandolin or vegetable peeler and dress with lemon juice, olive oil, salt & pepper to taste.

 

 

 

Deutsche Rezepte:

Zwei Zucchinigerichte um der reichen Zucchiniernte Herr zu werden. Beide, ein leckeres Gratin und ein frischer Salat, schmecken sehr gut zu kleinen Lammspießchen, deren Rezept (hoffentlich) bald hier erscheint.

 

courgette-onion gratin


Zucchini-Zwiebeltian

Für ca. 2-3 Personen als Beilage. Inspiriert von Stéphane Reynaud

 

2-3 mittelgroße Zucchini
3 kleine Zwiebeln
einige Zweiglein Thymian
Olivenöl
Salz & Pfeffer

 

Backofen auf 180°C vorheizen.

Zucchini in dicke Scheiben schneiden, die Zwiebeln etwas dünner. Abwechselnd in einer ofenfesten Form fächerartig schichten (und nicht wie üblich für eine Tian diese dicht an dicht wie eine Rolle Münzen). Thymianzweige in die Zwischenräume legen, großzügig mit Olivenöl beträufeln und mit Salz & Pfeffer würzen. 20-30 Minuten backen bis das Gemüse gegart ist und an den Rändern leicht gebräunt ist.

 

 

 


Zucchinisalat

 

Dünne grüne & gelbe Zucchini
Zitronensaft
Olivenöl
Salz & Pfeffer

 

Die Zucchini in dünne Scheiben hobeln (geht am besten mit einer Mandoline, aber auch einem Gemüsehobel oder –schäler) und mit Zitronensaft, Olivenöl, Salz & Pfeffer anmachen.

 

 

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Aubergines with buttermilk sauce & pomegranate seeds

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I absolutely love aubergines: big shiny purple or the white ones perfectly illustrating why they are also called eggplant, small green or tiny pea-sized aubergines from Asia, long & slender Middle Eastern varieties. The almost meaty flesh is the epitome of savoury when fried, grilled or roasted, creamy and satisfyingly unctuous it melts on the tongue and offers itself as a worthy partner to almost anything from other vegetables (Ratatouille to name but one), lamb or feta or chicken, chillies and coconut or stands proudly on its own when charred for Baba Ganoush – any recipe featuring aubergines is my friend, especially when a meatless dish is called for.

My aubergine guru is Ottolenghi, who seldom lets me down and these divine aubergines with za’atar, a tangy yoghurt-buttermilk sauce & pomegranate kernels guarantee you plenty layers of flavour. One half is a perfect starter, two halves are my favourite lunch Continue reading

Beetroot ‘carpaccio’

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This fabulous winter starter may sound a little fancy, bordering on pompous but apart from the original beef carpaccio, beetroot may be one of the few thinly sliced things to come close to be called after the eponymous Venetian painter of beautiful reds, Vittore Carpaccio. His precious vermillion, ruby, intense scarlet & carmine reds made the contemporary of Bellini, Mantengna, Giorgione and the young Titian the proper patron of the famous Harry’s Bar’s classic and maybe even the humble sliced beetroot. Just look at the beautiful burgundy-coloured beetroot slices, Carpaccio would have happily lend his name to this vegetarian version. Continue reading

Chickpeas, carrots & chard – Kichererbsen, Karotten und Mangold

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Back to the quest for great vegetable dishes and this one has proven itself many times over and therefore is a recurring dinner guest in our house. I love the combination of creamy chickpeas with sweet carrots and earthy chard in a pleasantly spiced sauce. A spritz of lemon finishes it with a jolt of acidity and lots of parsley for a fresh green note. A completely satisfactory & comforting dish on its own, this makes a pleasant change even for die-hard carnivores: add a fried egg or pan-fried halloumi slices for a fantastic vegetarian supper; at other times it’s a great partner to grilled lamb chops or a firmly fleshed fish like monkfish (Baudroi, Seeteufel or Lotte).

As always, find the recipe in English & Rezept auf Deutsch am Ende… Continue reading

South Indian Sambhar

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If you think dhal is only a lentil curry, you should have one immediately, preferably this Sambhar (or Sambar), a fragrant, rich & savoury stew originating from Southern India and the Tamil cuisine which could be described as an Indian spiced pease pudding. We loved this recipe so much (even my meat-centric husband will admit in front of witnesses how much he liked this) that it will have regular appearances in the James’s kitchen. Not to mention, that I bought a massive Indian cookbook (aptly named The only book on Indian food you’ll ever need) to try out more Sambhar variations.

The ingredients are temptingly exotic: curry leaves, fresh grated coconut, fenugreek seeds, tamarind, Asafoetida (shopping for those is already fun) and though the multiple steps may seem a little daunting at first, it is relatively straightforward. For those who try to minimize washing-up, the Sambhar will loose a few points in this department but it is totally worth it. There are layers of flavours & textures: creamy & smooth with a little bite combined with fragrant spices, the subtle sourness of tamarind and a hint of sweetness. Some Sambhar recipes add a selection of vegetables to the stew, I prefer them on the side (incidently, a good way to use up leftover veg) & serve it with basmati rice or naan bread.

Continue reading

Lemony giant beans with fennel & dill

Lemony giant beans with fennel & dill

 

Do you feel you get stuck sometimes and feel that even your absolute favourite vegetable dishes are still, well, loved, but you could do with a change or something new? It is the exact same feeling, that you get looking at your wardrobe and sigh and sigh and… One new thing that mixes up everything, turns things around, allows new combinations and suddenly: all shines in a new light, looks bright & fresh and the world is right as rain again.

These giant beans, fennel & lemon wedges with tons of dill offer a total different taste and unusual combination of ingredients (honey with dill). Definitely something to get you out of your vegetable or side dish rut: brilliant on its own, though I imagine it a great companion to grilled mackerel, rouget (red mullet), too. We had it with lamb, which was the reason I tried it in the first place. The ingredients made me think of the cuisines of Greece, Turkey, Persia, Israel and lamb chops came to my mind (luckily I had just bought some that day in the Kleinmarkthalle – what a coincidence). We loved it and this dish has claimed its place in our rota of quick go-to suppers or sides.


Lemony giant beans & fennel with dill

Serves two as a side dish, adapted from Heidi Swanson; I changed the quantities, added more sauce, lemon & dill)

1 fennel bulb
1 tablespoon olive oil
half a lemon, thoroughly washed and cut into wedges
salt
1 teaspoon honey
¼ cup of white wine
1 small tin (220g) of cooked giant white beans (Fagioli “Bianchi di Spagna”)
1 ladle of chicken broth or vegetable stock (approximately ¾ cup)
½ cup of roughly chopped dill
Cut the fennel in halves, turn those onto the cut sides and slice the bulb into 1cm (less then 1/2 inch) thin wedges. Heat the oil in a frying or braising pan over medium heat, throw in the fennel and leave to brown undisturbed for a while (2 minutes or longer) then add the lemon wedges brown for another 2 minutes. Season with salt, add honey & wine for the sauce, let it reduce for a minute, then pour in the stock and warm the beans in it for approximately 5 minutes. Sprinkle with dill to serve. As Heidi says, the beans are great at any temperature – we enjoyed them as a warm side to our grilled lamb.

 


Zitronen-Riesenbohnen & Fenchel mit Dill

Für zwei Portionen, adaptiert von Heidi Swanson

1 Fenchelknolle
1 EL Olivenöl
eine halbe Zitrone, gründlich gewaschen und in Spalten geschnitten
Salz
1 TL Honig
60ml Weißwein
1 kleine Dose (220g) weiße Riesenbohnen (Fagioli „Bianchi di Spagna“)
1 Kelle Hühner- oder Gemüsebrühe (ca. 180ml)
½ Tasse oder eine große Handvoll grob gehackter Dill

Den Fenchel halbieren, auf die Schnittflächen legen und in 1cm dicke Spalten schneiden. Das Olivenöl in einer Pfanne oder einem niedrigen Schmortopf bei mittlerer Hitze erhitzen, den Fenchel hineinstreuen und ohne Rühren für ca. 2 Minuten oder länger bräunen. Dann die Zitronenspalten hinzugeben und alles für mindestens weitere 2 Minuten Farbe annehmen lassen. Salzen, Honig & Wein für die Sauce einrühren, eine knappe Minute reduzieren lassen, dann die Brühe hineingießen und darin die Bohnen erwärmen (ca. 5 Minuten). Mit Dill bestreuen und servieren. Das Gericht schmeckt bei jeder Temperatur: heiß, warm, Zimmertemperatur; allein oder als Beilage zu Fisch (mhm: gegrillet Makrelen oder Rotbarben sind bestimmt toll) oder Fleisch: uns haben diese aromatischen Zitronen-Bohnen besonders gut warm zu gegrillten Lammkoteletts geschmeckt.