This is a very simple salad with bags of flavour that is a great way to use courgettes, which are very much in season here in the UK at the moment.
Essentially, you get the lovely, smoky flavour from the char-grilled courgettes, garlic, toasted pine nuts combined with a slightly sweet-spiced dressing that oh-so-gently pickles the courgettes, giving a seriously good flavour to proceedings.
The salad is perfect served with a barbeque or with bread and cheese: the bread is great to mop up the lovely juices!
Make ahead; no fuss!
The dressing can be made a week or so ahead either as it is or in larger quantities – just store it in an airtight jar in the fridge.
The salad is best made a few hours, or even a day ahead to allow the flavours to mingle.
A great dressing
The dressing I use is just a mixture of the sweet-spiced vinegar from a jar of my spiced cucumbers (recipe here), with some garlic, fresh herbs and a little oil: the sweet-sharpness works so well with the char-grilled courgettes.
You can, however, use just wine vinegar or cider vinegar, along with a little sugar, before adding this to the oil for the dressing. I have, however, given a quick, small-scale adaptation of the recipe for sweet-spiced vinegar that I use for those cucumbers.
Recipe: char-grilled courgette salad – serves 4
- 2-3 large courgettes – sliced thinly horizontally
- a few tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- a little sea salt, crushed
- small handful of pine nuts, lightly toasted/dry-fried
- small handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
Sweet-spiced vinegar (or see “A great dressing” above)
- 4 tablespoons cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- a generous pinch of dried chilli flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- the sweet-spiced vinegar (above)
- 1 fat clove of garlic, crushed
- a generous pinch of sea salt, crushed
- a generous grinding of black pepper
- generous spritz of lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
(1) For the sweet-spiced vinegar: put the ingredients into a small pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for a few minutes and remove from the heat. Leave to cool, which will allow the spices to infuse.
(2) Mix the dressing ingredients together (this is easiest by putting the ingredients in a small jar and giving it a good shake). Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. This can be made in advance and kept in the fridge until needed.
(3) Mix the courgettes with the oil and the salt and place on a heated barbeque or griddle pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes before turning over and cooking on the other side: you want the courgettes to soften and char, giving nice ridge marks along them. Transfer to a serving dish.
(4) Pour the dressing over the courgettes while they are still hot – I usually use all the dressing as I love the juices you get once all the flavours mingle, but you can go more cautiously! Add the pine nuts and parsley. Give it all a good mix, cover with clingfilm and set aside to cool. Chill until needed (a few hours or ideally overnight).