Do gardens, or more specifically, veggie patches have a special power that allows them to sense when you are on holiday? The minute their regular gardener is away they seem to go into overdrive. Especially the cucurbits, more specifically the courgettes.
We have just returned from a lovely week in France to find the ‘baby’ courgettes we left have sprouted into hippo sized marrows. We are officially awash with courgettes. Luckily we like courgettes and they are a pretty versatile vegetable. So here is one of my favourite ways to use them. If you also have a glut you may like these fritters or this courgette marmalade.
Elizabeth David’s Courgette Tian
‘Among the very simplest and easiest of summer dishes are those mixtures of vegetables and eggs baked in an oven earthenware casserole or gratin dish called in the Provençal language a tian.’ – Elizabeth David, Is There A Nutmeg in the House?
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 250-350g cooked but cold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 250g courgettes, coarsely grated
- 6 large eggs
- 2 heaped tbsp chopped parsley
- 30g finely grated parmesan (or any strong hard cheese)
- A few small spinach, chard or sorrel leaves, coarsely chopped (optional)
- Salt, pepper and nutmeg to season
- Preheat the oven to 150℃.
- Put 2 tbsp oil in a 20cm earthenware dish or solid based flan dish (ensuring both are oven proof!). Add the cubed potatoes and garlic along wit some salt, pepper and nutmeg stirring to coat in the oil. Place in the oven to warm whilst you cook the courgettes.
- Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan. Add the grated courgettes and a generous pinch of salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the courgettes begin to soften.
- While the courgettes are cooking, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the parsley, parmesan and other greens, if using. Stir in the cooked courgettes. Remove the potatoes from the oven and add these to the mixture too. Pour everything back into the ‘tian’ then return to the oven, increasing the temperature to 180℃. Bake for 25-30 minutes until puffy and golden. This can be eaten hot but is delicious cold for a picnic.