Courgette, feta and blackcurrant salad
- August 2023
- Serves 4 as a starter or side
- Hands-on time 40 min
This elegant dish of courgette and feta. (or ewe’s curd) with blackcurrant purée makes the perfect starter or side dish for late summer, says The Ethicurean‘s Mark McCabe.
Discover more delicious ways to use up a courgette glut.
- 18g (3.8g saturated)
- 7.7g (7.5g sugars)
- 4 courgettes
- 20g salt
- 20ml cold pressed rapeseed or extra-virgin olive oil (or blackcurrant wood oil – see tips), plus 1 tbsp for frying
- 40ml white wine vinegar (or blackcurrant leaf vinegar – see tips)
- 15g sugar
- 80g feta (or ewe’s curd if you can find it)
- Fresh soft herbs to serve (parsley, dill and/or marjoram all work well)
- 15 blackcurrants
For the purée
- 400g courgettes (ideally small courgettes as more skin will make the puree greener)
- 2 small garlic cloves
- 35ml rapeseed oil
- 15g fresh marjoram or 8g dried oregano
- 100ml cold vegetable stock (a stock cube is fine)
- Use a peeler to shave fine strips from the full length of 2 courgettes. Be careful not to peel your fingers and work slowly! Put the salt in a bowl with 350ml water and whisk until all the salt is dissolved. Add the ribbons, tossing to ensure they’re coated in the brine, then set aside for 5 minutes. When the time is up, drain and rinse the ribbons well. Make a simple dressing by whisking the 20ml oil, 40ml vinegar and sugar together. Dress the courgette ribbons in it and set aside.
- To keep the purée nice and green it’s important to have all your ingredients ready. Set the blender up and prepare a bowl of iced water before you start. Coarsely grate the courgettes and finely chop the garlic. Put a pan over a high heat. Add the oil and a pinch of salt, then add the garlic and fry until golden. Throw in the courgettes and marjoram (or oregano) and stir constantly. You want to cook the courgettes as quickly as possible to keep them vivid green, so cook and stir for a few minutes until completely soft.
- Tip the courgette mixture into the blender and whizz to a purée, adding some of the veg stock if it needs loosening (you might not need it all). When it’s nice and smooth, pass the purée through a fine sieve into a bowl, then sit this bowl in the bowl of the iced water. This will ensure it cools down quickly and stays green. Season to taste.
- For the grilled courgettes, cut the remaining 2 courgettes in half lengthways and as neatly as you can score them in a crosshatch pattern with a sharp knife. This will help the seasoning penetrate the flesh better. Sprinkle the halves with some salt and leave to sit for 10 minutes. Put a frying pan over a medium heat and add the 1 tbsp oil. Add the courgettes cut-side down to the pan and use another pan to press them flat so they cook evenly. Check them after 5 minutes; the cut side should be charred and a sharp knife should meet no resistance when inserted into the thickest part. Remove from the heat and cut each piece into bite-size pieces.
- To serve, spread the purée neatly on each plate and arrange the chunks of grilled courgette on top. Top with the dressed raw courgette ribbons, the ewe’s curd or crumbled feta, some fresh herbs and the fresh blackcurrants.
To upgrade this dish, make some blackcurrant leaf vinegar to use instead of standard vinegar. To make it, pick around 20 leaves in the weeks before the fruit ripens. Pack then into a sterilised jar and cover with 1 litre white wine vinegar. Leave to infuse for at least 2 weeks.
You can also make blackcurrant wood oil for extra flavour. To make this, in winter gather 200g of the pruned blackcurrant bush wood and put it in a pan with 1 litre of neutral oil like sunflower or vegetable. Warm it slightly and keep it warm for 1 hour, then strain the oil into a sterilised jar.
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