Thursday 18 January 2018

Forkful's speedy suppers

Simple courgette salad
Simple courgette salad
Courgette and ricotta tart

Aoife McElwain

Courgettes really mark summer for me. It's about this time of year that my friends with green fingers begin to graciously offer their overspill of courgettes to me. They seem to grow quite ferociously in city allotments and country patches alike.

For a gardener, I believe, this success is met with equal measures of enthusiasm and ennui. Even though they're a lovely vegetable, it can be hard to come up with new recipes to keep up with supply. So, for my gardening friends, here are two fresh ways with courgettes, to keep things simple yet interesting.

Simple courgette salad

Prep Time: 10 mins

Serves 2 to 4


1 medium sized courgette

Large handful of rocket

2 tablespoons of green pesto

1 tablespoon of honey

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Half a teaspoon of chilli flakes

Pinch of salt and pepper


1. Wash and slice courgette into thin rounds.

2. Arrange the courgettes on a serving plate. Dot the rocket around the courgette, making sure to not cover the courgettes too much - we really want to show them off here.

3. Drizzle the pesto evenly around the plate.

4. Drizzle the salad with the honey and olive oil.

5. Finish with a sprinkling of chilli flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Serve immediately, with some slices of toasted, crusty bread slathered in ricotta cheese.

Courgette and ricotta tart

Serves 4 to 6

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cooking Time: 25-30 mins


1 medium sized courgette

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 teaspoon of chilli flakes



250g ricotta

1 egg

1 tablespoon of Parmesan, finely grated

2 garlic cloves, finely grated

1 x sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry

Freshly chopped mint, to serve

Zest of half a lemon, to serve


1. Wash and slice the courgette into rounds. Place them in a bowl with the olive oil and chilli flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

2. In another bowl, mix the ricotta, egg, grated garlic, and the Parmesan. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, mix again.

3. Roll out the sheet of pastry onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Spread the ricotta mix over the pastry sheet, leaving a border of about 2cm around the edge of the pastry. Place the courgettes into the ricotta mix, arranging them in tidy rows if you like.

4. Fold the pastry in at the edges to create a border so the mix doesn't ooze out while it's cooking. Cook in an oven, pre-heated to 200c / 180c fan / Gas Mark 6, for 25 to 30 minutes.

5. Serve the tart hot or cold, with a fresh grating of lemon zest and freshly chopped mint sprinkled over the top to serve.

This week's storecupboard essential:

Pesto: Though technically pesto lives in the fridge, I consider it a storecupboard staple. I might have a jar of homemade pesto knocking around for a week or two, or maybe a pot from The Happy Pear ( in Greystones. Great for sandwiches, quick pasta suppers or for drizzling on salads.

Photos: Mark Duggan 

Irish Independent

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