I was asked recently to ‘do a bit of food’ for a pitch at work.
In the space of a week it managed to go from a couple of sample dishes using the clients produce to a 5 dish lunch for 15 people. Cooked on the roof. On an industrial BBQ. In 28 degree heat. No pressure then.
It was a baptism of fire on the catering front as the most people I’ve fed in one go, but I loved doing it and was touched by all the feedback I received. It gave me a lot of joy to see folk from the agency wandering around with plates piled high with dishes I’d made, happily scoffing them after the pitch was done and the client was out of the building. It’s certainly helped show me that a supper club needs to be my next move.
This is one of the sides I served that day. It went down a treat with lots of folk asking me for the recipe, so here it is – and it couldn’t be easier to do.
With the help of a mandolin you can turn the humble courgette (in our house, a vegetable usually baked or fried) into the star of a summery salad. Once cut in to long ‘noodles’ it’s dressed in lemon juice and olive oil, and mixed with crumbled feta, toasted pine nuts, fresh basil and oven dried tomatoes. It’s zingy and full flavoured with great texture and bite.
Eat it soon after making and the noodles have crunch, or leave it longer and they’re silky and soft. Whichever you choose to do this salad makes a great accompaniment to all kinds of summer BBQ dishes from seafood to lamb or even burgers. Just add sunshine.
Salad for four
- 4 large courgettes, sliced lengthways on the mandolin on the julienne setting.
- Juice of 3 lemons
- Same volume of extra virgin olive oil
- 100ml rice vinegar (Rice vinegars vary greatly. If your rice vinegar like mine isn’t sweet, you will also need 2tsp white sugar)
- 1 block of feta cheese, crumbled
- A handful fresh basil leaves
- 200g oven dried/sun-blushed tomatoes
- Sea salt and black pepper
- A couple of handfuls toasted pine nuts
- Combine the lemon juice, rice vinegar, olive oil and mix. If your rice vinegar is not sweet then add 2 tsp sugar also.
- In a large mixing bowl place the courgettes and dress with the lemon juice, olive oil and sugar, a sprinkling of sea salt and lots of black pepper. Turn carefully with your hands to make sure it’s all coated and leave for 10 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients just before serving, again using your hands to mix them – this means the noodles won’t break up as they’re mixed.