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Charred courgette, olive and basil

Serves: 4

Cooking time: Prep 3 to 24 hours Cook 45 mins

Difficulty: Intermediate

Difficulty

For the courgettes

  • 500g grezzina courgettes
  • 10ml olive oil
For the dashi
  • 2l water
  • 2 sheets kombu (available in Asian and large supermarkets)
For the pesto
  • 1 medium green courgette
  • 200g preserved lemons
  • 300g pumpkin seeds
  • 240ml olive oil
  • 1/3 bunch basil
For the olive juice
  • 300g norcellara olives in brine
  • 200ml dashi
  • 40ml olive oil
  • 2g xantham gum (available at large supermarkets and health food stores)
For the brine (optional)
  • 3l water
  • 5g salt

As part of the AEG Tasteology series we caught up with Dean Parker, Head Chef of The Manor, who is tackling the issue of food waste at its source at his Clapham restaurant. With the help of his farmer and supplier, Igor, food waste from the restaurant is turned into compost to fertilise fresh produce that is in turn showcased on the plates.

This recipe by Dean is a homage to the humble courgette, and usesĀ a vacuum sealer machine to elevate their natural flavours. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer at home you can still make a delicious dish by brining the courgettes the night before.

Method

1. For those of you who don’t have a vacuum sealer, start your preparation the night before by submerging all the courgettes in brine and leaving in the fridge. To make the brine, add 1.5% of salt to 3 litres of water.

2. First, prepare your courgette elements. Peel the grezzina courgettes and vacuum seal in a 1% salt brine. Cut the trompette courgette into 2cm thick slices and add to a 1% salt brine and vacuum seal.

3. Prepare the green courgettes to be used in the pesto. Peel the courgettes and vacuum seal in olive brine for 3 hours, then remove from the mixture, dice into 0.5cm cubes and return to the liquid.

4. Next, prepare the dashi by bringing 2 litres of water to 80 degrees on the hob. Add the sheets of kombu and simmer for 30 minutes at the same temperature and season with salt. Remove from the heat, cover in cling film and allow to steep. Once the liquid has cooled to room temperature, strain the kombu and discard.

5. For the pesto, toast the pumpkin seeds in a pan with 25ml of vegetable oil and don’t season until golden. Set aside to cool, before pulsing in a blender.

6. Blend the preserved lemons with 400ml of dashi and olive oil on full power for 5 minutes. Combine the dressing with the seeds and add a little dashi if required to moisten the mixture. The diced courgette will be added to the pesto just before serving.

7. Pit the olives by slicing them off their stones. To make the olive juice, blend the ingredients on full power for 5 minutes, keeping aside 100g of olives. Slice the remaining olives into 3 ‘cheeks’ and cover with olive oil. Set aside.

8. Colour the grezzina courgettes on a barbecue or in a large dry non-stick pan until evenly charred, before transferring to the oven to finish off.

9. To plate, drain the slices of trompette courgette. Pour 50ml of the olive juice into the centre of each plate. Slice the charred grezzina courgettes in half and dress with a drizzle of olive oil. Place off-centre on the plate.

10. Slice the basil into large ribbons and combine with the diced green courgettes and pesto mix. Scatter a spoonful on the opposite side of the courgette. Place 7 slices of trompette courgettes around the pesto and add 3 olive cheeks skin-up to the trompette courgettes to serve.

Vacuum sealers are available to purchase on the AEG website.

Ingredients

For the courgettes

  • 500g grezzina courgettes
  • 10ml olive oil
For the dashi
  • 2l water
  • 2 sheets kombu (available in Asian and large supermarkets)
For the pesto
  • 1 medium green courgette
  • 200g preserved lemons
  • 300g pumpkin seeds
  • 240ml olive oil
  • 1/3 bunch basil
For the olive juice
  • 300g norcellara olives in brine
  • 200ml dashi
  • 40ml olive oil
  • 2g xantham gum (available at large supermarkets and health food stores)
For the brine (optional)
  • 3l water
  • 5g salt

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