Such a glut of courgettes (zucchini) around – do you know that right now, the most popular recipe on my blog is Quick Summer Pickle – Sweet and Sour Courgettes? It gets more views every day than anything else at the moment! I love courgettes but unfortunately, Jake does not. No matter how I cook them, oven fries, griddled, sautéed, grated raw or ribboned in a salad – he just picks them out and says that it is a texture thing. I can’t even fool him anymore by saying that it’s cucumber – he’s waaaay beyond that stage now!
So in order to satisfy my craving for them, I tend to cook them so that they will keep for a couple of days at least – that means gratins and stews. This one is a riff on the very first recipe I posted a year ago, Courgette, Feta and Thyme Bake. I still can’t photograph it that well – it’s not a looker but it tastes fabulous warm, room temperature or cold.
This Courgette, Red Pepper & Mint Gratin with Chèvre is a good dish for a picnic or a barbecue as it can be made ahead and ideal for a buffet table as well. I like it on a slice of toasted sourdough with a rocket salad – it makes the perfect light lunch or supper. The combination of courgettes, mint, red pepper and goats cheese is lovely and fresh – perfect to see off the summer with.
My Courgette, Red Pepper & Mint Gratin with Chèvre is terribly easy to make. Sauté some shallots and peppers, then add the coins of courgettes, garlic and seasonings. While that is going on, mix up the custard – the eggs, creme fraiche and parmesan cheese. Then it’s just a matter of layering it all together and dotting it with chunks of chèvre (goats cheese) and popping it in the oven for half and hour or so. Now the trick with layering is to start off really parsimoniously – be as mean as you can get away with so that you have generous amounts left for the top layers. Printable recipe follows below, as always!
Courgette, Red Pepper & Mint Gratin with Chèvre
- 1 Tbsp rapeseed or mild olive oil
- 2 large banana shallots or 1 medium onion
- 1 large sweet red pointed pepper
- 4 medium courgettes/zucchini
- pinch of salt
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- ½ tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder
- a splash of water
- 1 tbsp fresh mint leaves finely chopped
- 3 medium free range or organic eggs
- 150 ml reduced fat creme fraiche
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
- 100 g of soft goats cheese/chèvre
- Pre-heat oven to 220 C/450F and butter an oven proof dish.
- Warm oil in a large frying pan over a medium low flame
- Slice shallots into half moons and stir in.
- De-seed and slice the red pepper and stir in. Add a pinch of salt and give it all a stir.
- Slice the courgettes into ½ cm coins. When the shallots start to caramelise and the peppers are starting to soften, stir in the courgettes. Let these sauté for about 5 – 7 minutes, stirring frequently so that the shallots don’t catch. The courgettes should be just cooked through and a little browned in places. It does help to use a big frying pan.
- Stir in the minced garlic, the rosemary and the bouillon powder and add a little splash of water and scrape up the delicious caramelised juices that will have stuck to the pan. Turn off the heat, stir in the mint and set aside to cool while you get on with the eggs.
- Lightly whisk the eggs in a medium sized mixing bowl. Whisk in the creme fraiche , the lemon juice and the parmesan cheese. It will look slightly curdled and will thicken from the lemon juice but it is fine.
- In a well buttered ovenproof dish, layer a scant half of the vegetables and cover with a very scant half of the custard. Repeat, finishing by dotting blobs of the soft goats cheese over the top.
- Bake for 25-35 minutes until set and golden brown in places.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Serves 6/8 as side dish or 4 as a light lunch with salad
Also fabulous to take on picnics or in packed lunches.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.