Antipasti of courgettes

Serves 4-6

When courgettes are in season and there are all sorts of different shapes, colours and sizes available, including the flowers, it's a nice idea to make good use of all of them in the form of an antipasti dish such as this one.

You can do a mixture of simple grilled, roasted and steamed; or you could chop them and make a kind of vegetable stew; below are some suggestions.

A friend of mine recently gave me some delicious wild pignuts from down in Dorset – they grow under the ground and their bush-like leaves look rather similar to those of parsley. They are so-called because of their popularity with pigs. I'm not suggesting you go foraging for pignuts; if you can't get hold of them, just use lightly toasted hazelnuts instead.

2 large yellow courgettes, cut into chunky slices on the angle
2 large green courgettes, cut into 5-6 lengths, then cut lengthways into half-cm thick slices
4-6 baby courgettes
2 round courgettes, thinly sliced
2tbsp cider vinegar
5-6tbsp extra virgin olive oil
20 or so pignuts or hazelnuts, lightly toasted
A few courgette flowers
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and cook the chunks of yellow courgette on a medium heat for 5-6 minutes, turning them as they are cooking. You can finish them in the oven if you wish, then transfer to a plate.

Heat a ribbed griddle, lightly oil it and grill the slices of green courgette for a couple of minutes on each side, seasoning as they are cooking, until tender.

Transfer to the plate with the roasted courgettes. Simmer the baby courgettes in boiling, salted water for 2-3 minutes, drain and put to one side. Mix the vinegar and olive oil with the thinly-sliced round courgettes, season and leave to marinate for 10 minutes.

To serve, arrange all of the courgettes on a serving dish, spoon over the marinade and lightly season. Scatterover the nuts and tear the courgette flowers over.

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