I love early morning cooking on hot days, if cooking must be done at all. 5 or 6 am is really the only comfortable time to put pot on stove. So dishes that can be eaten cold later in the day are ideal.
This recipe is a cracker. I found some scribbled notes once when I was going through my recipe paper files. And I can tell you this is good! One of Greece’s amazing and simple dishes.
I have made this dish with small zucchinis and with very large zucchinis. With the very large versions, the skin is somewhat tougher. I don’t mind that too much, but you may want to cook it a little longer if you are using zukes that have grown to ginormous proportions.
Courgettes a la Grecque | Zucchini Cooked in Greek Style
Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time:30 mins plus time to cool the dish
Serves: 4 – 5 people, depending how you use it
500 g courgettes/zucchinis or small marrows
salt to salt the courgettes
175 ml olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
300 ml water
1 bay leaf
a few crushed black peppercorns
a few crushed coriander seeds
a little salt, to taste if needed
3 tomatoes, chopped
3 cloves garlic
a dozen or so black olives
Wash the zucchini or small marrows, removing any damaged parts of the skin, but otherwise do not peel them. Remove the ends and slice into 2.5cm pieces (if using small zucchinis) or dice into 2.5cm dice if using large zukes. Sprinkle them with salt and leave them in a colander or sieve for at least an hour to drain. They can be left overnight to drain, covered with a tea towel.
When you are ready to cook them, take a pan and add the olive oil, the lemon juice, the water, the bay leaf, thyme, garlic, peppercorns and coriander. Bring it to the boil.
Add the tomatoes and zucchini and give a good stir. Add a little more salt if you think it needs it. Cook fairly fast for 15 – 20 minutes, then add the olives and cook for another 5 minutes. By this time, the sauce will have thickened and be delicious.
Serve cold with crusty bread to soak up that delicious sauce. It can be a side dish or form the central large plate at the table with a salad and perhaps some cooked dried beans or lentils. On a stinking hot night, a large bowl and bread will be enough to eat.
Chop the tomatoes coarsely or finely, it does not really matter. Coarse chopping leads to a rustic look, and fine chopping means the tomatoes melt a little more into the sauce.
If you feel that you have salted the zucchinis rather heavily, then it may pay to rinse a little of the salt from the salted courgettes/zucchinis before cooking. I don’t do this, but I do taste the zucchini before putting it into the pan to judge the level of saltiness.
The garlic, coriander and tomatoes are all optional, but they make such a beautiful sauce. I leave the garlic cloves whole, but you can chop or put them through a garlic press if you prefer.
Diced feta added to the dish before serving would be amazing.