Saturday morning we were up bright and early, eager to get to our local farmer's market. The stalls were over-flowing with the brightest and most delicious produce and so it didn't take long for us to fill up our two bags and empty our pockets of cash! This weeks treasures included yellow and green zucchini; an abundance of tomatoes – yellow, orange and red; green and purple French beans; chillies (including another plant – this time though to be kept indoors with the hope I can keep it alive over winter!); peppers – red, yellow and orange; three containers of fresh basil, including lemon basil; some local pepperoni and sausages and of course our favourite dill and onion bread.
With my glut of tomatoes I went straight to work making homemade tomato ketchup, but for our evening meal I wanted to keep things simple....Mr. Vanilla perfectly seared some steaks on the barbecue which were served alongside some potato wedges and a healthy dollop of the homemade ketchup and then I served two simple and delicious salads – this raw, fresh zucchini salad and a mixed bean salad, cooking the beans only briefly so they retained most of their brilliant purple hue and finishing them with a warm shallot, garlic & oregano dressing. With such wonderful local ingredients that have been grown with care and love it was no surprise that dinner was a delicious feast which we greedily devoured and enjoyed with a glass of wine.
Perhaps the simplest way to serve Zucchini but my favourite. Fresh, local zucchini enhanced only slightly with a little red chilli and lemon basil.... summer food at it's finest. For an extra treat this is also delicious piled onto some crostini and topped with some fresh mozzarella and an extra drizzle of olive oil.
2 Zucchini – green & yellow if you can
1 red chilli, deseeded & finely chopped
scattering of fresh basil – I used lemon basil which is perfect with this
Squeeze of lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil
Using a vegetable peeler or mandolin cut the zucchini into long ribbons, allowing them to fall naturally onto your serving plate. Scatter the chilli and basil over the top – ideally using the smaller basil leaves – the finish with a squeeze of lemon juice, a good drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of sea salt. Easy, fast and the most delicious way to eat zucchini!