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Veggie Corner – Courgette

Print Features Editor James Angove on the multitudinous possibilities of the courgette.

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Mais oui, la courgette. A vegetable that takes itself seriously. In fact, so seriously that it insists on a French pronunciation. A cucumber with substance, the courgette’s gallic tones tell you straight away that this is a vegetable built for cooking. It can be fried, steamed, stuffed, baked and (for you weirdos out there) included in cakes.

However the versatility of said veg does not stop there. It extends to its very naming as the courgette possesses a number of alter-egos: the zucchini and the marrow. The former is typically accompanied by a sunny American inflection, full of optimism. Conversations about zucchinis take place in bright and airy kitchens on the liberal coasts, in between talk of the latest musicals and (incorrect) assurances that green smoothies aren’t actually that bad. The marrow, however, could not be more contrasting.

Defined as a fully-grown, matured courgette, the marrow is just that. It is mature. It is spending your weekends pottering round the allotment. It is grey clouds and greyer hairs. It is Antiques Roadshow on series link. The marrow is the preserve of those who make their own preserve. The veg has recently attempted a rebrand for the health-conscious and the sadists among us, as “courgetti”. The thin strips of courgette attempt the impossible task of replacing pasta, but the trend is trash and frivolous. I advise that the courgette stick to the serious business of cuisine – after all, who doesn’t love a good ratatouille?

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