Words and Images by Kathy Patterson
The incredibly versatile courgette often gets a bad rap as being a bit tasteless, but if you take a closer look, they are pretty wonderful.
Eaten raw (my personal favourite), cooked until just bite-tender or slow-cooked in olive oil and finished with a few good squeezes of lemon juice and a handful of basil leaves are all cooking techniques that can bring the courgette life and give you enjoyment.
Courgette and Noodle Salad
Turn this into a more substantial salad by adding pieces of roast chicken or thin slices of barbecued beef steaks. Squeezing lime or lemon over the final dish is a must to heighten the fresh flavours.
It’s a good idea to make the dressing the day before. Taste the dressing before using, and if too tart for you, add salt to soften taste.
200g noodles, such as green tea or soba noodles
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium-sized courgettes, trimmed
4 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
½ medium-sized telegraph cucumber, cut into small pieces
2.5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 tbsp white sesame seeds, toasted
1 tsp sesame oil
1 lime or lemon, cut into wedges
4 tbsp fresh lime juice (or use 2 tbsp lime juice and 2 tbsp lemon juice)
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
pinch of dried chilli flakes
To make the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together and set aside for at least one hour to allow the flavours to mingle.
Cook the noodles in plenty of boiling water for 4–6 minutes, depending on how soft you like them or according to the packet instructions. Drain and refresh under cold water. Drain well again then put into a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to prevent them sticking together.
Coarsely grate the courgettes or use a vegetable peeler to peel strips (ribbons) from each courgette. Add to the noodles along with the spring onions and cucumber.
Whisk the ginger, sesame seeds and sesame oil into the dressing. Pour over the noodles and vegetables. Gently toss to combine, then put into a serving bowl. Pass around lime or lemon wedges for squeezing over salad.