To celebrate National Vegetarian week I’m posting some recipes that will tempt even the most dedicated carnivores to ditch the meat and enjoy some fresh, in-season, flavourful and health giving veg.
My first is a delicious and stylish dish where the humble courgette is the star of the show…
Courgette and Courgette Flower Carpaccio with Ricotta
This is light and lovely with a delicious floral sweetness from the melon. To make the salad even prettier, tear a few bright yellow courgette flowers into the salad if you have them. We have a small melon baller to make the pearls but if you don’t have one simply cut the melon into small cubes instead.
For the dressing
½–1 red or green chilli, according to taste, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
finely grated zest of ½ lemon plus extra to garnish
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salad
3 medium courgettes, thinly sliced
4 round tomatoes, diced or 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 red pepper, deseeded and finely sliced
a handful of basil leaves, tough stems discarded
½ honeydew or cantaloupe melon (about 150g flesh), cut into pearls
100g ricotta, drained.
Make the dressing by mixing the ingredients together in a bowl. Season to taste and set aside.
Arrange a layer of courgette slices, tomatoes and red pepper strips onto one large serving plate or individual ones. Pour over a little dressing. Add the remaining sliced vegetables on top followed by the remaining dressing. (At this point the salad will keep for a few hours in the fridge if you wanted to serve it later).
Just before serving, scatter over the basil leaves and melon pearls and top with teaspoon-sized quenelles of ricotta. To do this squeeze a heaped dessertspoonful of ricotta between 2 dessertspoons into a quenelle, an egg shape with pointed ends. Use one spoon to scoop the shape out from the other and lay onto the salad. Grate a little extra lemon zest on top and finish with a good twist of black pepper.
This recipe is from my latest book ‘Around the World in Salads’ published by Kyle Books.
All photography by the wonderfully talented Helen Cathcart.