Monday, April 19, 2010

Grilled Courgettes with chickpeas, goat's cheese, and mint

As the weather gets warmer (finally!), I start getting in the mood for salads. Well, actually, I'm one of those people who's almost always in the mood for a salad. I know, call me crazy. But what I can't stand more than anything else is a salad without, how do I say, purpose.

We've all had them or at least seen them on restaurant menus. The afterthought put in by the chef to cater to the vegetarians, those on a diet, or those just looking for a guilt-free way to get their veggie quotient up. We could probably recite the ingredients by heart: romaine or iceberg lettuce, tomatoes (perhaps chopped), sliced cucumber, maybe if we're feeling daring a crumbling of feta or a sprinkling of black olives, toss with oil and vinegar, and there you have it. Ruffage on a plate.

This is not a salad.

This is an excuse to pay too much for no effort whatsoever.

So when it comes to making salads at home, purpose is the name of the game. I'm all for a salad main course, but if and only if the salad has some attitude.

Thankfully, this salad has attitude in spades. A little bit of Italian flavor, a little hint of the Middle East, and we've got something that might just restore your faith in the veggie section of your grocery.

Serves 4
Time: about 15 minutes

3 courgettes/zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise

2 tbsp olive oil

50g crumbled goat's cheese

2 ripe tomatoes, deseeded and diced

400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 tbsp chopped fresh mint

grated zest and juice of one lemon

1/2 tsp chile flakes (or more, honestly, don't you want more spice?)


Preheat a griddle or frying pan, brush the courgette slices with some of the oil and cook for 1-2 min on each side.

Season and arrange on a platter.

Scatter the courgettes with the goat's cheese, tomatoes, and chickpeas, and drizzle the remaining olive oil.

Sprinkle over the mint, lemon zest, and chile flakes, then drizzle with the lemon juice and season to taste.

Serve immediately

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