I recently turned 35, and since the restrictions after the lockdown had loosened and it was OK to have a gathering with more than just 2 households, I decided to throw a little garden party. It was an amazing evening, finally able to see friends again, to socialise, enjoy good food together, drinks and music. I also received many wonderful gifts including a new discovery for me – Mini Basil! What an amazing, delicate and aromatic herb it is. I’ll definitely be adding this little gem to my balcony collection. Of course this recipe works equally as well with our standard Basil, or even the violet variety if you can get hold of it, or have it growing at home.
This salad is really about using ingredients that are in their height of their season, celebrating their flavours, and the simplicity good food can have. The Apricots should be wonderfully juicy, sweet and flavourful, the Courgettes firm, and the Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil should be of a good quality. If you don’t have a grill you can easily make this salad using a frying pan.
For all of those who are wondering what a Courgette is – it’s the British – English word for Zucchini!
Seves 2 – 3
2 Small Courgettes (Zucchinis) Green, Yellow, or one of each.
3 Large Apricots, or 5 Small Ones
A Handful of Basil Leaves, or Mini Basil if you happen to have it!
2 Tbsp White Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Sunflower Oil, for the frying pan
Halve the Apricots and remove the stones. Wash the Courgettes and slice diagonally slices about 1 cm thick. If you have a grill, preheat to a medium-high temperature, and place the Courgettes and Apricots onto a baking tray, sprinkling the Apricots with a little Sugar. Place under the grill. Once the Courgette and Apricots have taken on a lovely brown colour, turn them over and place under the grill again. Once both sides have been grilled remove from the baking tray and place on to a plate or serving dish.
If you don’t have a grill take a large frying pan – I find a cast iron frying pan best for this, and heat it until it’s really hot, then add a little Sunflower Oil, just enough so the Courgette doesn’t stick to the pan. Place a layer of Courgette in the pan. It’s important not to over fill the frying pan and to use the highest heat. We want the Courgette and Apricots to slightly soften but not to over cook and we want them all to get a lovely roasted brown colour to them. Once the first side has got a lovely golden brown colour, turn the Courgette over, and roast the over side. Once both sides have roasted, remove from the pan and place on a serving plate. Repeat until all the Courgette has been roasted. Sprinkle the Courgettes with Salt.
Next place in a layer of Apricots. Once they start to get a little colour add in a good sprinkling of Sugar. Don’t add the Sugar in at the beginning as it will burn before the Apricots have had a chance to take on any colour. Once the first side has turned a caramel brown colour, turn the Apricots over. Once both sides have been roasted, remove the slices from the pan and add to the plate with the Courgette. Repeat the process if needs be with the remaining slices.
In a bowl mix together the Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, and a generous pinch of Salt, pour over the Apricots and Courgettes, and season well with freshly Ground Black Pepper. Check for seasoning and sprinkle a dash more Vinegar and Salt if you like. Serve whilst still warm.
If you made this recipe, let me know what you think in the comments below!