Grilled courgettes (zucchini) with cream cheese and herbs
It’s amazing what you can do with a simple vegetable like coutgette. You just need to slightly grill it, add an interesting filling and this makes an impressive, light first course. You may pan-fry the courgettes or barbecue-grill them – both methods produce beautiful results. These sweet young vegetables taste more of themselves when they are cooked and have a lovely, crunchy texture. In regards to the filling you can play around with the spices and the texture of the cheese by adding any ingredient you like and feel will go well with this dish.
Preparation time: 25 minutes
2 medium size, young courgettes (zucchini), without blemishes 200 g of any cream cheese Sea salt and black pepper A clove of garlic A sprig of fresh thyme, finely chopped Few sprigs of fresh dill, finely chopped
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Slice the courgettes lengthways, as thin as you can (you can try using a peeler). Grill them on the barbecue or on a red hot pan until they are lightly charred on both sides. Do not add any oil, it goes into the filling.
Crush and mix spices, by using mortar and pestle. Start with the sea salt and black pepper, then add the thyme and dill and finally add the garlic. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, chop the herbs, grind the salt and pepper, press the garlic and finally mix them all together.
In a large bowl, mix together the cream cheese, olive oil all the herbs and spices until they form a homogeneous mass.
Take 2 slices of courgette, place them on a clean, dry surface and shape them in a cross. Repeat with the rest of the courgette slices. With a small spoon, shape the cheese mixture into balls about the size of a ping-pong ball (one for each courgette cross). Place a ball in the middle of each cross and then fold the strips of courgette over to make a parcel.
Place a smaller ball of cheese mixture on top of every parcel and decorate with single chive stem.