Crazy about Courgettes!

11 Sep

In general, I will eat anything you put in front of me, unless it’s cottage cheese or melon. Cottage cheese for its nasty texture and well, “associations” (barf), and melon because it’s what cheap fruit salads are full of. I absolutely love fruit salad and I hate when a restaurant skimps out with a bowl of pale slimy melon and one grape for “variety.” To me it’s just insulting, and for this reason I hate melons. It doesn’t help that I find the flavor rather yawn-evoking as well.

Image courtesy of Facebook Group "The Anti Cottage Cheese Eaters Union" (Yes, it actually exists)

Up until about two years ago there was something else on that list – zucchinis. Like melon, I used to find these cork-like cucumber impostors bland and somewhat bitter. However, it wasn’t until I accidently bought one, thinking it was a gnarly organic cuke, that I actually tried cooking it myself. Not wanting the thing to go to waste (this was during my gastronomically “experimental college years” as mentioned in the blog post Food and Me), I decided to give it a shot. Much to my surprise, my former mistake turned out to be delicious and easy to cook. All it needed was a little butter and the correct seasoning, and this old enemy soon became my best friend. Now zucchini is one of my favorite fall-time features, something I happily incorporate into any veggie mix or simply as a side on its own.

Like any new love affair, I get extremely excited whenever someone even mentions the word “zucchini”. Thus, I was quite pleased when in my cooking classes we used my beloved veggie on two separate days in one week, and through ways in which I have never before dabbled . The first was mentioned in my last post (Rethinking The Most Important Meal of The Day), as the scrumptious containers for our creamy scrambled eggs. This time they were to be used for an amazing  curried soup that can be served hot in the fall, or cold like gazpacho in the summer. Paris can’t seem to make up its mind in September (yesterday was 15°C and rainy, today was 32°C and sunny), so the versatility of this dish is most welcomed. Not to mention zucchinis are perfectly in season right now which is an absolute must in French cuisine.

Le Menu:

  1. Potage de Courgettes au Curry
  2. Casserole d’Haricots Verts
  3. Douillon aux Pommes et Cannelle

We began by sautéing finely chopped onion, garlic and parsley with some olive oil in a saucepan until they browned. We then added a couple cut up zucchinis and some water, and cooked it slowly until the zucchini was soft. In a food processor, we puréed this mix with a skinned, boiled potato, keeping the consistency smooth and moist. We added cream, curry powder and little salt and pepper for flavor, and then strained the mixture so all that was left was a velvety aromatic soup, honestly one of the best I’ve ever had. Such simple ingredients and such complex flavors!

The casserole was a little different than what I’m used to, but still delicious nonetheless. When I think of casserole I usually picture a quiche-like meal that bored housewives bring to new neighbors or the elderly, which they’ve baked in the oven containing copious amounts of egg and canned tuna.  Alas, there was no tuna or even egg in this recipe, only a rather un-kosher combination of fresh cream and Italian ham (sorry mom and dad). We thinly sliced the ham and sautéed it in a pan, later adding finely chopped onions, garlic and parsley. We then added the cream and some cooked thin green beans, seasoning it all with salt and pepper to taste. Once again a very simple dish, but quite satisfying when eaten with a fresh baguette.

For dessert we made the traditional French recipe of Douillon aux Pommes, which consists of baking whole apples in puff pastry with cinnamon and other such delights.

We started by de-coring the apples and replacing the centers with butter, brown sugar, jam and a cinnamon stick. We baked the apples until they just started to soften, and then set aside to cool. Once they were ready, we wrapped them in two round pieces of puff pastry, making a hole in the top of one for the cinnamon stick to poke though. We glazed them with apricot jam and baked for about 10 minutes until the pastry was fluffy and golden brown. We served this beautiful little treat with icecream and finished off our warming autumn meal with a few glasses of red wine which fueled delightful lunchtime conversation, unfortunately not about my beloved zucchini, but enjoyable all the same.


One Response to “Crazy about Courgettes!”


  1. Comfort Food « Shortt and Sweet - 27/10/2011

    […] I had wanted to make douillon aux pommes et cannelle from the post Crazy About Courgettes for dessert, my father doesn’t eat wheat as part of his dietary sensitivities, so I baked the […]

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