Courgettes cook beautifully over fire. The high heat chars their surfaces and the smoke gives them a wonderful savoury depth. Here I’m pairing them with two of my favourite courgette accompaniments: goat’s cheese and dill.
Barbecued Courgettes with Dill, Goat’s Cheese, Mint and Yoghurt
Serves 4 as a starter
4-6 medium courgettes
4 tbsp olive oil
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tsp fennel seeds, toasted and crushed
3 tbsp natural yoghurt
150g soft goat’s or ewe’s cheese
½ small garlic clove, peeled and grated
a small bunch of chives, thinly sliced
6-8 sprigs of dill, chopped, plus extra to garnish
2 tbsp chopped mint, plus whole leaves to garnish
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Prepare your fire. You want a glowing bed of embers with no real flames to speak of.
Set a grill over the fire; it will have reached the right temperature when you can hover your hand above it for no more than 3 seconds.
Top and tail the courgettes and slice them lengthways into strips, 3-4mm thick. Place in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add 2 tbsp olive oil along with the lemon zest, chilli flakes and fennel seeds, and tumble together.
Lay the courgettes across the grill. Cook for 8-12 minutes on each side, or until they are lightly and evenly charred, with some caramelisation.
Meanwhile, combine the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil with the yoghurt and crumble in the goat’s cheese. Add the garlic and half of each of the herbs. Season with salt and pepper and mix well to combine.
Arrange the grilled courgettes over a large platter and squeeze over the lemon juice. Spoon on the goat’s cheese dressing and scatter over the remaining herbs to serve.
Extracted from Outdoor Cooking: River Cottage Handbook No 17 by Gill Meller (Bloomsbury, approx €19.50).