Of charred courgettes and failing lemons

A friend writes from Brighton. It’s like Narnia there, when the White Witch reigned … at least, their beautiful garden is quilted with snow and everyone I hear from in Europe complains of the enduring, extreme winter. But it was not of the weather he was writing. My charred courgettes entry had caught his eye, struck a chord. So I’m going to share HIS recipe for a similar dish.


750g courgettes, sliced into very thin rounds
Olive oil
3 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
12 sprigs fresh mint, coarsely shredded
Cayenne pepper
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Sea salt and cracked pepper

Griddle the courgettes on a hot pan until well marked with colour. Drain on kitchen towel then place a layer on the bottom of the bowl you intend to serve them in. Sprinkle with garlic, a few mint leaves, a hint of cayenne, a good splash of vinegar and salt and pepper. Top with another layer of the same and repeat, building as many layers as ingredients allow. Cover tightly and leave to marinate in the fridge. Remove at least an hour and a half before serving as this salad is best served at room temperature.


Worth a try, next time. Next summer? Depends. Will the courgettes still be producing when I return in two or three weeks? And I’ll take heed of his suggestion not to be too heavy-handed with the vinegar. That may have caused the sogginess I complained of. So much to learn!


And, before I forget, a response to another troubling problem … why won’t the lemon tree fruit? A text from Napier. Spray with sulphur. Nothing to lose, and if it works, well, it would be so gratifying to have my own lemon tree to rely on. Instead of raiding my father’s all the time!


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