Ok, I’m guilty of an Italian/French fusion in my title, but hey, I’m embracing being a European and thoroughly enjoying being under the influence of a bit of Mediterranean panache when creating delicious vegetable-based dishes. My inspiration came many years ago, from a one of the River Café books – hence the use of bruscetta rather than tartine. Don’t be put off if you are a veggie – this is fab without the meat and I have further suggestions below.
Sauteed Courgettes with Herbs, Garlic and Lemon
If you grow courgettes, it is almost inevitable that you will have a glut at some point, even if you do try to keep picking them when they are small. This is one way of making them so tasty that even a veteran courgette-disliker can be won over. For other suggestions, do look at my Tuscan Zucchini soup and also my Seasonal Specials board on Pinterest, where you will find links to recipes for Zucchini chips, Kolokothikeftedes (Greek courgette fritters), Curry Marinated Squash Salad and more besides.
When I first created this recipe for my elderly mother, who loved ‘things on toast’, I grilled the jambon cru because she found it hard to manage raw. It worked beautifully. Now, I tend to cook the ham quickly on a fairly high heat in the frying pan, before sauteeing the courgettes and garlic, then it can drain on kitchen paper while the vegetables are cooking – you may get a crisper result baking in the oven at about 220c, but it seems a shame to turn it on just for that.
If you are a vegetarian, I suggest a topping of parmesan shavings or fried halloumi. If you are a vegan, perhaps some crispy fried onions, or some toasted chopped pine-nuts or walnuts.
You could equally use this over a pile of tagliatelle or orecchiette, or maybe crozets, the little squares of buckwheat pasta. In which case, I would probably toss the pasta in some basil oil and parmesan cheese, or pesto. Or it would pair wonderfully with Aligot (mashed potato with garlic and cheese). If you you stick with toast, then choose from wholewheat, or a substantial pain de campagne or ciabatta, that can stand up to being rubbed with garlic….
I find that every so often I really appreciate some starchy carbs and this makes a good way of using them, but if you wish to avoid them, then a big pile of dressed green salad, or perhaps a white bean puree would make a great base.
Courgette Bruscetta with Crispy Jambon Cru
This can make a delicious starter or a light lunch.
- 2 slices of Jambon Cru (Bayonne, Serrano or Parma ham) (91 kcal)
for the courgettes:
- 1 tsp olive oil (40 kcal)
- 1 medium courgette (about 100g), sliced into thin round or diagonal slices (16 kcal)
- 1/2 clove of garlic, peeled and finely sliced or chopped (2 kcal)
- A sprig or two each of parsley, basil / marjoram and mint, finely chopped
- sea salt and black pepper
- some finely pared zest of lemon
for the bruscetta:
- 2 slices of bread (138 kcal)
- 1/2 clove of garlic, peeled (2 kcal)
Heat a frying pan over fairly high heat and fry the ham on both sides until nicely browned. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
Lower the heat to medium, then add the courgettes, garlic and a spray or drizzle of olive oil to the hot pan, along with about half of the herbs and season lightly. Smaller, fresh courgettes merely need to be sautéed for about 5 minutes, until lightly golden. For older courgettes, sauté for 5 mins, then cover with a lid and cook for up to 10 minutes more, until tender.
Meanwhile, toast the bread on both sides, then rub with the clove of garlic.
Add the remaining herbs and lemon zest to the courgettes, spoon over the toast, and top with the crispy ham.
Per serving: 290 kcals
Carbs 29.6g, Fat 11.6g, Protein 18g,
Serving suggestion ; a little basil oil and a side salad of tomatoes in olive oil on some green leaves.