Sometimes I wonder why we spend so much time tending our garden when I’d really rather just chill out with my feet up, but when June arrives and delivers such an abundance of small and tasty fruits and vegetables to eat, I remember all over again why.
The taste! Nothing can compare with a vegetable that is picked and goes directly to the table – positively humming with flavour.
As home growers we are blessed with all kinds of treats
Yesterday I ate this year’s first ripe loganberry, a real flavour-popping experience and last night’s stew of baby broad beans, courgettes and potatoes gently braised in olive oil was a dish made in heaven.
Of course the garden doesn’t stay in this state of euphoria for long. Before we know it everything is galloping along, the weeds and vegetables rapidly gaining in size. This is not to say they are no longer tasty but too much of anything loses its charm and the beautiful baby courgettes that we are oohing and aahing over right now can often become a challenge.
We make courgette tarts, salads, pastas, breads and cakes and there are still more ideas out there. Last year we discovered a recipe for courgette pizza — it’s a very clever way to make your way through a mound of courgettes, as well as a nutritious way to get children to eat vegetables,
So in anticipation of a courgette glut again this summer, here is the recipe. It is the perfect home for the slightly larger courgettes.
This is a courgette on the bottom, not on the top type pizza. No yeast or flour involved, just grated courgettes stuck together with polenta and egg. It works very well and although the base doesn’t taste like a regular pizza, it behaves like one and will carry whatever your personal pizza topping fantasy is, without collapsing on the way, from your plate to your mouth.
1 tsp oregano
2 tbs polenta – heaped
salt and pepper
Pre the oven 180c
Grate the courgettes on the coarse side of the grater.
Put them into a bowl, toss them with a scant teaspoon of salt and mix well. Tip the courgettes into a colander, set over a bowl and leave for half an hour. Quite a lot of water will come off. Next tip the courgettes onto a clean t-towel. Gather the four corners together and squeeze – you’ll be surprised how much more water runs out.
Tip the grated courgettes into a bowl. Crack in 2 eggs, a teaspoon of dried oregano and a little salt and pepper. Mix well, then stir in 2 heaped tablespoons of polenta.
Line a baking tray with some parchment paper, then spread the courgette mix out evenly. Tidy up the edges.
Bake the base for about 20 minutes, turn the tray half way if your oven has a hot spot. Bake until lightly golden.
When the base has been pre-booked spread with a little tomato sauce then whatever else you fancy (sliced very thinly) and some grated mozzarella. Pop it back in the oven until golden and bubbling at the edges, about another 15-20 minutes
Makes a very large pizza – eight portions and is gluten-free.
If you haven’t got a courgette patch with an over-abundance of courgettes, we will be making the pizza in the shop. Call in and try some!
Lettercollum Kitchen Project
22, Connolly Street, Clonakilty