Last Updated on September 13, 2021
Skip straight to my recipe for Potato and courgettes in lemony olive oil
Here’s a lemony end of season new potato with courgettes dish cooked in good olive oil – a combination of ingredients that is frugal and will keep the vegetarians and vegans in your home happy. This recipe is based on one by Rachel Roddy, which in turn is based on her own recipe research. Her learning, from Carla Tomasi, is that for the most part, great vegetables are either best served raw (I would add, barely cooked) or very well-cooked – with little in the middle. Of course, courgettes are often found in dishes where they’ve been slow stewed – ratatouille or caponata for instance. As I said, I disagree with ‘raw’ because I do think that vegetables like courgettes, in particular, are delicious lightly griddled, blanched for just a minute or steamed but kept al-dente. At this time of year though, our own new potatoes are not so new and courgettes can be edging towards turning into marrows. The perfect point at which to make this delicious courgette, potato, lemon and olive oil stew.
Generally at home, I’m cooking for one or two. Scaling recipes like Rachel’s original doesn’t quite work, so I’ve adjusted the quantities for this potato courgette and lemon dish. To make enough for two or three (it does keep well in the fridge for a few days and can be gently warmed through or just allowed to come back to room temperature) you’ll need about 400g of potatoes and the same quantity of courgettes. You will need 100ml of the best olive oil you have, a clove of garlic, half a lemon and some fresh bay leaves. I like to finish the dish with some fresh parsley too.
Once your potatoes and courgettes are roughly the same size, warm the garlic and lemon in the oil releasing the flavours, before adding the rest of the ingredients other than the water and stirring well to coat everything in oil. Then pour in just a little water or wine. If I have the remains of a bottle of dry white wine I’ll add that rather than water at this stage and I love the extra depth of flavour it gives. But, it’s not essential.
Don’t add too much liquid – your aim is to be left with nothing more than the oil when it comes to serving – and the courgettes themselves can be watery. Cover the pan and simmer everything for 30-40 minutes till the water has evaporated and the vegetables are soft to melting. Garnish with parsley if you like or a sprinkling of za’atar.
The main thing to remember with this recipe is that you need good quality olive oil. What I am using at the moment came from the local farmers’ market, is imported in five-litre cans from a little farm in Atlantis, Greece by Amabile foods. It cost an eye-watering £60 – but will last me for at least 6 months if not a year. And, for this type of recipe, using anything less would compromise the dish. You could if you wanted to stick to local produce, use a good artisan cold-pressed rapeseed oil, though of course, the results would be different.
For me, this is a side dish. It’s great with spicy merguez sausages or a cheesy filo pastry. It also works for a comforting lunch, with a slice of fresh, crusty sourdough to mop up the juices. And, it is quick to put together and doesn’t need much attention while it’s cooking. Perfect.
Courgette (zucchini), potato and lemon in olive oil
- 400 g new potatoes if they are end of season, peel them, otherwise scrub to clean
- 400 g courgettes
- 100 ml olive oil
- 40 ml dry white wine or water
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 lemon
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 handful parsley
- salt and black pepper
- 1 teaspoon za'atar optional
- Cut the potatoes and courgettes into chunks of about 1cm
- Warm the olive oil in a heavy-based casserole with the bay leaves, lemon and the garlic clove and cook gently for 5 minutes
- Add the vegetables to the pan, season with salt and toss in the oil till everything is well coated
- Add a little water - 40ml should be enough
- Bring to a gentle simmer, put the lid on and leave to stew for about 40 minutes.
- Check every 10-15 minutes, stir and add a little more water if necessary if the vegetables are not cooked but are sticking
- Once the water is completely evaporated, check and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt, black pepper and half a teaspoon of za'atar if you like
- Serve garnished with fresh parsley or mint