In America it is referred to as ‘zucchini’, in Britain it is called ‘courgette’, and in Arabic it is known as ‘kusa’. Whatever you choose to call it, there is no denying that this summertime vegetable makes a great and unusual salad ingredient.
Zucchini is a very versatile vegetable. It can be eaten raw grated into salads – the raw flavor is mellow and understated. But by grilling your zucchini, the flavors deepen remarkably and can really carry their own. If you are lucky enough to find small zucchini, I recommend using them as they are younger and have more flavor.
Grilled zucchini is heavenly on its own. Pairing it with contrasting cool feta cheese and a light lemon-mint dressing makes it a feast.
BABY ZUCCHINI (COURGETTE) AND FETA SALAD
(Serves 4 as a side dish)
4 Tbsp lemon juice
4 Tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh mint leaves, removed from stem and roughly chopped
Generous pinch of sea salt
1 lb / 450g baby zucchini (courgette), sliced in half lengthwise (if you can’t find baby zucchini, use a regular sized zucchini and slice it up widthwise)
6oz / 150g feta cheese, crumbled or roughly chopped
Some olive oil for brushing on the zucchini
- Make the dressing by shaking all the dressing ingredients together in a jar with a lid (or simply combine the ingredients in a bowl and mix well).
- Warm a grill-pan or frying pan on the stove on medium heat.
- Slice the zucchini (lengthwise if using baby zucchini or widthwise if using large zucchini).
- Brush the zucchini with a little olive oil and place on the grill-pan or frying-pan. Cook on one side until it turns brown and then do the same to the other side. Zucchini can be eaten raw, so you are only looking for the outside to be brown – don’t worry about cooking it all the way through. (You can also grill zucchini in the oven. Set your oven to the grill/broil setting, lightly brush both sides of your zucchini with olive oil, and place in an oven-proof dish in the top-third of the oven. They will take roughly 5-8 minutes per side, but make sure you watch them because the difference between a brown zucchini and a burnt zucchini is about a minute).
- Once grilled, place the zucchini in a nice pattern on a platter.
- Add the crumbled feta over the zucchini.
- Pour all the dressing over the salad.
- Serve immediately for a warm room-temperature salad, or refrigerate and serve cold.