I recently was invited to Sunday dinner at a local restaurant. The dinner was organised by the committee of The Mens Club in our village. The meal, which lasted about 4 hours, was a leisurely affair of about 15 courses, liberally washed down with various wines. The meal started off with seemingly endless trays of antipasti (or starters as we call them in Britain), and typically they were slices of meat, fish or vegetables cooked simply in a tasty sauce and presented either hot or cold.
This recipe is antipasti at it’s best, and like a lot of things with Italian food, some of the most delightful dishes are some of the easiest to prepare, and so it is with this one.
Serves 4 with about 4 slices per person
4 medium zucchini, sliced lengthways about 4mm thick
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
100gm/3 1/2oz/1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated (or cheese of your choice)
- Either grease a baking tray or lay some baking parchment on the tray
- Lay the zucchini slices neatly on the tray
- Brush the oil generously on the slices.
- Sprinkle the crushed garlic on the slices
- Sprinkle the grated parmesan on the slices
- Place under a hot grill until the cheese is golden brown, about 10 minutes or so
- Serve immediately
This is one of those recipes that never fails to please. It tastes absolutely fantastic and it looks the business when it is presented at the dinner table. It is just as good when served cold accompanied by a salad or with cheese and pickles. Also it freezes well, and I normally have one tucked away for when visitors call unexpectedly.
Serves 4 – 6, taking about 30 minutes to prepare and 1 hour to cook
450gm/1lb/ cup zucchini coarsely grated
450gm/1lb/ cup carrots peeled and chopped
1 -2 table spoons of olive oil
1 large onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic minced
100gm/3 1/2oz/ cup ground almonds
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon tomato puree
salt and pepper
- Put the carrots into a suacepan of salted boiling water and cook until soft.
- Drain and mash to a rough puree, and then stir in the coriander.
- In a large frying pan gently fry the onion inthe olive oil for about 5 minutes until it is soft.
- Add the grated zucchini stirring to ensure all the zucchini is cooked, for a further 5 minutes.
In the dim distant past when I used to eat meat, I chanced upon this recipe while visiting an American friend, and because I showed an interest, she cooked it for me, and it did not disappoint. This is my vegetarian version, and is equally delicious. It looks pretty good when served at the table as well.
Serves 6. Preparation about 35 minutes. Cooking 45 minutes
400gm/140z/2 1/2 cups Lentils green or brown
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 clove of garlic minced
450gm/16oz tinned tomatoes chopped
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon powdered nutmeg
2 teaspoons mixed dried herbs
polenta or cornmeal
100gm/3 1/2floz/ milk
2 eggs well beaten
100gm/3 1/2oz/ cheddar cheese or parmesan grated
- Put the lentils into a saucepan, cover well with water and boil gently for 30 minutes or until soft.
- In another larger saucepan, gently fry the onion in the oil for 3 minutes, then add the garlic and continue frying for another 3 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, sweetcorn, tomato puree, chilli, nutmeg and herbs. Season. Mix well and cook for 10 minutes.
- Put into an ungreased baking dish approximately 22 x 22 x 7cm/10 x 10 x 3in, smooth the surface level.
- Mix the milk, polenta or cornmeal and eggs into a jug, whisk well and pour over the surface of the mix, and then sprinkle with the grated cheese.
- Place in a pre-heated oven set at 180C/350F/Gas 5/moderate and bake for about 45 minutes or until the cheese is golden.
- Serve immediately with vegetables of your choice. This pie freezes well and I like it cold with pickles or chutney.