© David Loftus
courgette salad with mint, garlic, red chilli, lemon and extra virgin olive oil
This is quite an unusual salad and terribly simple to make. It's great because it's a nice little side dish that will go with things like mozzarella, goat's cheese, cured meats, grilled or barbecued white fish like cod or haddock, even things like chicken or pork. Use courgettes when at their best (nice and firm and not too big).
Slice 4 courgettes lengthways as thin as you can (use a mandolin if you have one). Grill on a red-hot griddle pan, or on the barbecue, until lightly charred on each side. Scatter the slices over a large plate, making sure you don't sit them on top of each other otherwise they'll steam and go a bit limp, and there's nothing worse than limp courgettes, I can tell you. While they're still warmish, sprinkle them with a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Deseed a red chilli and chop finely. Finely chop ½ a clove of garlic and sprinkle the chilli and garlic evenly from a height over the courgettes. (Add to your own taste, but just remember that when the chilli and garlic mix with the olive oil and lemon juice the heat and flavours are lessened.)
Tear over a handful of fresh mint and drizzle with good extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. I've even been known to throw in some blanched broad beans or raw peas if I can get any. This salad is always a real treat.
PS If you find yourself with leftovers, try baking any fish fillets (cod, haddock or bass for example) on top of the courgettes. Lovely with steamed rice and seasoned yoghurt. Very fresh and good for you.
• from Happy Days with the Naked Chef
serves: Serves 4