Recipe provided by Cornersmith
25 minutes (including 15 minutes soaking)
This is a very Italian way to prepare zucchini, almost like an antipasti. Pan-fried, then gently braised, the zucchini tastes so good with fennel seeds, garlic, chilli and lemon zest – with sultanas adding a hint of sweetness. We decided to turn this dish into a warm salad, to really let the flavours sing.
1½ tablespoons olive oil,
plus extra for drizzling over the salad
6 small or 5 medium-sized zucchini (courgettes), about 550–600 g (1 lb 4 oz–1 lb
5 oz), sliced about 2 cm (¾ inch) thick
1 garlic clove, crushed
¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
2 pinches of chilli flakes
Zest and juice of ½ lemon
2–3 thyme sprigs
A pinch of salt
1 tablespoon sultanas (golden raisins)
3 cups picked parsley leaves
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
80–100 g (2¾ oz–3½ oz) fresh ricotta cheese
Add the olive oil to a saucepan large enough to fit all the zucchini slices in one layer. Heat over medium–high heat, then add the zucchini slices, in one flat layer. Cook for 5–6 minutes, or until golden brown.
Flip the zucchini slices over. Sprinkle with the garlic, fennel seeds, chilli flakes, lemon zest, thyme sprigs and salt. Put the lid on, reduce the heat to very low and let the zucchini cook for 10–15 minutes, until turning soft.
Turn off the heat and let the zucchini sit in the pan, with the lid on, for another 5–10 minutes.
Meanwhile, soak the sultanas in a little hot water for 10–15 minutes, then drain and finely chop. Set aside.
Place the warm zucchini slices in a large mixing bowl and ‘tear’ them apart with the side of a spoon. Add the chopped sultanas, parsley, tarragon and lemon juice and mix together gently.
Place the salad in a serving dish. Finish with dollops of the ricotta and an extra drizzle of olive oil. Grind some black pepper over the top and serve immediately.
Tip: Cook the zucchini a little bit longer with the lid on, then mash it with a fork and serve as a delicious dip for scooping up with crusty sourdough, or tossed through hot pasta.
Images and recipes from Cornersmith Salad and Pickles by Alex Elliott-Howery and Sabine Spindler, Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99
Photography by Alan Benson