after the vegan curry days, i felt quite cheesy again, so i maxed out on cheese intake in two dishes based on courgettes!
tomatoes, courgettes and gorgonzola
recipe is easy-peasy again. slice one to two small courgettes and a couple of tomatoes, mix with a sliced clove of garlic, sprinkle with fleur de sel, freshly ground white pepper and a good dollop of olive oil and roast in an ovenproof dish under the grill or in the oven at a medium heat until slightly browned (takes between 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the oven) – stir once or twice during the cooking period, but only gently as you don’t want to break the tomatoes.
once browned, add a another sliced tomato on top with a splash of olive oil and back under the grill for 5 minutes. then put some cubed gorgonzola (italian blue cheese – as there are different varieties, i prefer the full-flavoured one to the ‘dolcelatte’ variety for this dish) on top and once more under the grill until the cheese is melted with only the slightest brown spots. add some garnish such as chili flakes, chopped basil or chopped spring onion greens and you have a very satisfactory meal, which can be eaten straight out of the baking dish! for the vegan variety, skip the cheese and sprinkle with some chopped toasted almonds 🙂
courgettes and sun-blushed tomatoes with goats cheese
as i used one large courgette instead of two small ones, i deseeded it, as larger courgettes have too many seeds and those tend to get mushy when cooking. just cut the courgette in half lenghtwise and scrape the seeds out with a spoon – then slice the remaining courgette halves. mix it in an ovenproof dish with a handful of sun-blushed tomatoes. those tomatoes you usually get at a delicatessen and they are marinated in oil with herbs. sun-blushed means that they are halfway between sundried and regular fresh tomatoes – they are very juicy and flavoursome. as they come in oil, you can use a couple of spoonfuls of the marinating oil to drizzle the courgettes and tomatoes with it. you might want to add some fleur de sel, but often there is salt in the oil from the tomatoes already and then there is no need for extra salt.
roast it in the oven or under the grill for about 20-30 mins until lightly browned and the courgette tender. stir every now and then and add some toasted sesame seeds for the last five minutes.
put a finger-thick slice of a nice goats cheese on top, it works best with a bucheron (but you can be as creative as you like and also crumble some fresh goats cheese on top instead): http://culturecheesemag.com/cheese-library/Bucheron
back under the grill for another 5-7 minutes so the goats cheese can become soft inside and slightly browned on top – don’t overgrill it as then it will become too runny on the inside (and literally melt all over the place) and black and bitter on top. a light golden-brown top works best taste- and texturewise. another yummy evening meal that can be eaten straight out of the baking dish! the vegan option would be more sesame seeds or try your own brand of vegan cheese. i would always say go with what you like, none of my recipes are set in stone. they live with what your own palate and mind add to them!
both meals will go great with a nice and crisp white wine… for some added colour and flavour, i find they go well with a kir:
i know that the french will probably find it an affront, as a kir is normally used as an aperitif – but i do like it with a vegetable and cheese dish as well! all you need is some dry and flavourful white wine (sauvignon blanc works well), served cold in a cocktail glass (you can use a wine glass too of course!) and carefully add a dash of creme de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur). as the liqueur is heavier than the wine, it will sink to the bottom and you have two layers, which looks pretty too.
the second affront is that i do not stir it (as the french do) but drink it as it is, which means you start with the white wine and slowly while drinking the liqueur from the bottom will start to mix – meaning that every sip will be different in flavour … from really dry to fruity sweet when you reach the bottom of the glass. but do feel free to stir! chin chin and bon appetit… but don’t forget to always drink responsibly.