Sunday, January 07, 2007

Simple sauteed courgettes with chilli and lemon

Since I read Hugh Fearnley-W's inspiring exhortation to eat seasonally, a couple of years ago, I have been trying to live by the rules. We used to have an organic bag of vegetables delivered to work, but the scheme folded and since then we've bought locally-grown veg at a nearby farm shop. This system means that I can support local produce and avoid unnecessary airmiles; it also means I know what I am doing when I pick up a vegetable in Tesco that is clearly out of season. I know that sounds stupid, but when I shopped exclusively in supermarkets, I didn't really know what was in season and what wasn't; I've never lived in the country; I've never even weeded a garden, so I am not exactly close to nature. Anyway now I do know, and usually I do buy seasonally as much as possible... but then this project came along and it is tempting me towards the kinds of food I would usually wait until at least May to eat. I can't imagine I will be patient enough to wait until the summer to finish my project, so I am biting the bullet and being a bit unseasonal - I know, I know, but I am acting in full awareness of my own guilt and I promise that this project apart I am usually pretty good...

Yesterday we had pork steaks to use up and some potatoes, plus pancetta and prosciutto, so I returned to the fantastic pork chop recipe from Jamie's Italy. That involves making a stuffing with dried apricots, garlic, prosciutto and sage; cutting pockets in the chops to stuff the mixture into, browning briefly on the hob then into the oven, on top of a tray of diced potatoes par boiled and tossed with pancetta matchsticks and unpeeled garlic cloves. I love this dinner - I suspect Simon does too, since he proposed to me after eating it a year ago now, although he claims that the pork chops had nothing to do with it. I still wonder if we would be married now if I'd served him spaghetti bolognaise. Anyway, to go with this delectable dish yesterday, I made sauteed courgettes with chilli and lemon, which is dead easy but was a good counterfoil to the rich pork dish. I sliced the courgettes and fried for a couple of minutes with sliced garlic and crumbled dried red chilli, seasoned, added lemon juice, and waited until the juice evaporated, when I served it.

The courgettes were really flavoursome; they contrasted very well with the stuffed pork and potatoes. Another yummy dinner, all told.

It is funny: this sort of meal is really simple, in a way, but it is delicious, too. The courgettes, which are meant to be the subject of this post, would go with all sorts of food; they are feisty and zesty, ideal companions to a whole range of flavours. Another side-dish to remember - for when courgettes come back in season, obviously....


FreyaE said...

I love sauteed courgettes! Tamasin Day Lewis has a superb recipe for them, sprinkled with a hint of cinnamon, some garlic, pine nuts and sultanas (which I sometimes omit) and it goes really well with fish!
Kathryn, following your lead, I tried Fennel today! Imagine, me trying fennel! I was pleasantly surprised at its celery taste, not as anise as I feared. I will definitely be using this more now, thanks to you!
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!
Freya x

Kathryn said...

It isn't that aniseedy, is it? I don't like aniseed but I do like fennel. The Tamasin Day Lewis recipe sounds lovely - I love that combination of ingredients. Thanks!

ms.proust said...

Wow, a whole blog dedicated to cookiing with Jamie? Move over Julie & Julia!

I've been having trouble with some of the new recipes out of Jamie's Italy & have never needed to tweek his recipes much... But I'm going to keep going through the pages & experimenting.

But true to what Blogher quoted, I did get some kitchen kisses for the spaghetti with calamari recipe!

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