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Cover: Head Over Heels

19Jul 12

Zucchine alla poverella

Zucchine alla poverella
Recipe type: Antipasto, Side dish (contorno)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
A simple summer dish of fried courgettes which can be eaten as part of a selection of antipasti or as an accompaniment to a main dish of meat or fish
  • 800g Courgettes
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • White wine vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Slice courgettes thinly
  2. Fry in olive oil until gold and slightly crispy
  3. Drain on kitchen paper
  4. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with freshly torn mint leaves and salt and pepper to taste
  5. Add a glass of white vinegar to the cooking pan and cook slowly over a low heat for 10 minutes
  6. Pour the liquid over the courgettes and let them marinate for a few hours
  7. Serve at room temperature
If possible, weather permitting, the sliced courgettes can be left in the sun to dry for a few hours. This is the traditional method and gives the dish a slightly more intense flavour.


My first few posts will focus on the humble courgette or as it is known in Italian ‘zucchine’.

This vegetable is the one of the main stays of the Pugliese diet and is readily available in northern Europe too during the summer months although in colder climes it has a more delicate flavour. My father for example grows them in abundance in his garden in Somerset.  However they are usually only destined to be boiled as an accompaniment to a main dish.

In Puglia however I never cease to be amazed by the sheer variety of ways courgettes can be prepared and they are always incredibly simple, nutritious and deceptively delicious.

Just a little knowledge will turn this highly underrated vegetable into culinary alchemy. The most important requirement is that you use only the freshest and highest quality ingredients available.

This dish which can be served either as antipasti or an accompaniment to a main dish  requires little more than a few finely sliced courgettes (which can be left to dry in the sun for a few hours before hand  – sun permitting – to eliminate excess liquid and give a slightly sweeter intense flavour).

These are then sauteed in extra virgin olive oil until crisp and golden. Remove from the frying pan,  and place in a bowl and  sprinkle with some torn fresh mint leaves and salt and pepper to taste.

Add to the frying pan (and residue olive oil) a glass of white wine vinegar and cook gentle for 10 minutes creating a intensely sweet  liquid that is then poured over the courgettes  and left to marinate for a couple of hours.

Serve at room temperature.

If you’re looking for something else to do with your courgettes, what about Courgette and Leek Fritters?



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  1. Food is like beauty – simple on the outside,but full of flavour and surprise when ‘bitten’ into.

  2. I like this idea. It´s simple but unique. :=)

  3. I love italian antipasto… this looks really good.

  4. A typical dish of the ancient Apulian peasants … it is fantastic!


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