In an unwise decision the other night I decided to reclaim my cast-iron griddle pan from its box in the loft where it has been temporarily stashed since the start of our kitchen renovation, and introduce it to my temporary kitchen-in-the-lounge. Bad move people, bad move. My hankering for charred courgette salad nearly drove us out the house: the lounge’s complete lack of an extractor fan meant the room rapidly filled with billowing smoke − a good test for the fire alarms but a total common-sense fail. Whoops! Having safely deposited the rabbits in the back garden, we had to open up all the windows and doors to properly vent the smog. Goodness knows what our neighbours made of it all. Rest assured, for now the griddle pan has been retired back to the attic and any griddling action will take place on the barbeque if we ever get a long enough dry spell in the midst of all this rain.
Should you be in possession of a properly ventilated kitchen or a barbeque in a dry country you’ve got the all clear to make this summery salad/side dish which is a favourite of mine. Courgettes take particularly well to a quick char on a high heat, the smokey flavour complements the slight sweetness of tender, early veg like this. The simple dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, basil and parmesan shout summer to me being light, zingy and savoury and doesn’t detract from the delicate flavour of the courgettes. Served warm or cold, this salad goes really well with other grilled meats like chicken or pork as well as other dishes such as the Sicilian arrancini I’m planning to tell you about next time…
Griddled courgettes with lemon and basil
- 400g courgettes (about 4 small)
- juice of half a lemon
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- fresh basil
- salt and pepper
Cut the courgettes into thin slices, about 2-3mm thick. Toss with 1 tbsp lemon juice and 2 tbsp of the oil.
Heat a griddle pan up until it’s smoking hot. Griddle the courgette slice in batches turning once the first side has charred lines.
Once the courgettes are done toss with the remaining lemon juice, olive oil basil and salt and pepper to taste. Scatter with parmesan shavings and serve warm or cold.