This summer squash is versatile, tender and easy to cook, says Melanie Johnson.
I love this time of year, when courgettes are firmly on the menu. Their flowers taste delicious simply stuffed with mozzarella and peas, then deep-fried – but here are more recipes for something even grander.
Thai prawn-and-coconut soup with courgette noodles
For the curry paste
1 lemongrass stalk
3 garlic cloves
Just under 1in piece of ginger
2tbspn tomato purée
1tspn ground cumin
1tspn coriander seeds
3tbspn fish sauce
1tspn shrimp paste
1tspn palm sugar (or use caster)
For the curry
400ml coconut milk
500ml chicken stock
A handful chopped fresh basil leaves
300g cooked prawns
To make the curry paste, chop the ingredients roughly and process them into a paste using a blender. In a large saucepan, heat the paste with a splash of neutral oil until it sizzles and releases its flavours. Pour in the coconut milk and chicken stock and bring to a light simmer. Add the basil leaves (reserve a few for serving) and the prawns to heat them through. Taste for seasoning.
Spiralise the courgettes, divide them between four bowls and ladle the hot soup over them. Serve topped with fresh basil and a good squeeze of lime juice.
More ways with courgettes
Grilled courgette slices with almonds and Parmesan
Lightly oil a grill pan and batch fry thin slices of courgette until almost tender. Arrange them in a bowl, then scatter a handful of chopped almonds, a generous grating of Parmesan and some chopped basil over them. Drizzle with olive oil and a little apple-cider vinegar. Serve immediately – this dish is especially good with grilled chicken.
Slice two courgettes in half lengthways, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and bake in a hot oven for about 15 minutes or until just starting to colour. Scoop out any watery middles and chop the courgettes roughly.
In a blender, process them to a paste along with a clove of garlic, 1 tablespoon of tahini, a squeeze of lemon juice, 1 dollop of Greek yoghurt, a little olive oil, seasoning and some basil or mint. Serve with toasted pittas.
Slice sourdough bread and toast before drizzling with olive oil. Top with ricotta, slices of grilled courgette and blanched broad beans. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice plus a sprinkling of chilli flakes and freshly chopped mint.
Melanie Johnson adds some zing with this season’s new spring onions.
This exotic-sounding tart is perfect for afternoon tea.
As small green shoots arrive in the garden, Melanie cooks up a delicious buckwheat tart with spring onions, fresh anchovies