65 Kitchen garden cook: courgettes
Melanie Johnson chooses courgetti over spaghetti
225g plain flour 100g butter, cold and diced Salt A splash of ice water, if needed
2 courgettes 2 carrots 1 aubergine, small 4 slices Parma ham
150g cream cheese with
garlic and herbs 1 egg, beaten 50g grated mozzarella 50g grated Parmesan
4 anchovies 1 clove garlic Juice and zest of 1 lemon 75g mayonnaise 50g grated Parmesan
A handful of caper berries
Start by making the pastry, ideally by pulsing all the ingredients in a processor until they come together to form dough. Alternatively, rub the butter and the flour together with your fingertips in a bowl until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, add water if needed and bring together in a ball, then tip out onto your work surface, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge until needed.
Cut the vegetables into long, thin strips using either a vegetable peeler or a mandolin, then blanch the carrot and aubergine slices in boiling water for a few minutes until they’re soft and set aside. Next, mix the cream cheese, egg and cheeses in a bowl, add seasoning and set that aside, too.
Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚ F/gas mark 4, retrieve the pastry from the fridge and roll it out to line a 10in tart case. Trim the edges and prick the base with a fork. Line the pastry case with baking parchment, fill with baking beans and blind bake for 15 minutes. When cooked, remove the tart case from the oven, spread the creamcheese mixture over the base and arrange the vegetable slices on their sides so you can see the coloured edges, adding the Parma ham among them. Start from the outside and work your way in until you finish with a tight spiral in the centre. Put the tart back into the oven for a further 45 minutes, covering it loosely with foil if it starts to look too brown.
While the tart is cooking, make the Parmesan sauce by mashing the anchovies and the garlic in a pestle and mortar, before adding the mayonnaise, lemon juice and grated Parmesan and mixing well.
Remove the tart from the oven, cut it into slices, then serve with the Parmesan sauce and a few caper berries on the side.
Courgettes are one of my favourite vegetables. They’re easy to grow, fabulously versatile and enjoyed by the whole family. The main recipe this week is a real showstopper, so, next time you’re asked to take something along to a barbecue this summer, try this