Many friends and relations often comment that many of the vegetables taste so much nicer in Italy than back home, wherever ‘home’ might happen to be. That’s as may be except for one vegetable which I think is utterly ‘boring’ in all countries: and that is the dark green zucchina or courgette (as opposed to the lighter green one which we call ‘napoletane’ or ‘romanesche’). You never hear anyone get really excited about zucchina season now, do you? The courgette flowers or blossoms, yes! but not that elongated cylindrical ‘thing’ that can’t make up its mind whether to be totally insipid or pretend to be courteous and discreet on the palate.
It’s good for soups, yes, and inside a frittata, why not. And you can make a decent pasta dish with it too, if you slice the courgettes very thin and sauté them in plenty of olive oil with garlic or onion, as well as pancetta and parmesan … but that just proves my point which is that a courgette on its own is inedible. Courgettes need tarting up and that’s that.
Harking back to a more contrived style of cooking, or one that was a bit ‘twee’, say some time around the 1960s to 1980s, when useless garnishes were a big thing, one can take a leaf out of the odd cookery book and playfully contemplate how to dress up the zucchine. Today’s post is about a recipe that is very reminiscent of a 1970s style summer buffet platter. The idea is to shape the courgettes into little boats bearing a cargo of shrimps flavoured in a home-made mayonnaise.
Here are some thawed, previously cooked, ex-frozen shrimps. I rinsed them a thousand times to get rid of whatever product they use (smells like ammonia so it probably is ) to freeze goods without damaging them.
Cut the courgettes lengthwise and empty them of their white interior. Pat them dry. If you are going to serve them straight away, fine. If not you can put them in the fridge and remove them half an hour before serving time.
I know it doesn’t look very appetising but it actually works very well for when the weather is blissfully hot and we get all languid and lazy and would love to have some loyal loving family member (or not as the case may be) fanning us as we lethargically dose off. These little boats are tasty without being too tasty, if you know what I mean. The only outright strong tastes that Summer can stand are those of fruits.