Before the summer is out be sure to make the most of the bounty of vegetables available, and in particular zucchini. Zucchinis/courgettes/whatever you like to call them, are a brilliant vegetable. Baked, fried, souped, grated into muffins or cake, there’s endless opportunities. This recipe was inspired by the Green Kitchen Stories cookbook, a must buy for any vegetarian or ethically/health conscious eater. A lighter version of your traditional parmigiana, it’s an ideal meal for a warm weekend evening. Why the weekend? Well, there’s quite a process involved, but if you complete the tasks in stages it really feels like no hassle at all. The perfect recipe for those who like to potter about, doing a little here, a little there. You’ll be duly rewarded for your efforts, with a stunning dish – layers of sweet, fragrant tomato sauce, thin strips of zucchini, boiled egg, creamy mozzarella, punchy parmesan, fresh basil and mint leaves. Hungry yet?
Fawn over the pretty colours as you create each layer – bright red splashes of sauce, sunny yellow egg yolks and their pristine companion, the whites. The zucchini, mint and basil offer differing shades of green that compliments the pale creamy yellow cheeses. It’s a dish to take pride in. To let those artistic juices flow (and for me that’s about as arty as I ever get). Make a double batch of the tomato sauce and freeze half for the next time or to stir through a slap-dash weeknight pasta. Boil a few extra eggs for quick lunches or breakfasts on the go. Nibble on the mozzarella as you get layering…There’s many a reward for investing the time in this Zucchini and Egg Parmigiana. Therefore let’s not waste any more precious minutes around here…go forth and layer your way to parmigiana perfection!
Note: All photographs have been taken prior to the final layer being added before baking.
Zucchini & Egg Parmigiana
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¼ tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tbsp tomato paste
3x 400g diced tomatoes
2 sprigs of basil, leaves picked
2 sprigs of mint, leaves picked
½ sprig rosemary
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp caster sugar
Large squeeze of lemon juice
Sprinkle cayenne pepper (optional)
1 batch of homemade tomato sauce (see above)
1kg (approximately 4) zucchinis– the straighter the better!
6 large eggs, hard-boiled
2 tbsp sunflower oil
250g ball mozzarella, thinly sliced (a bread knife is useful)
60g parmesan, grated
3 sprigs basil, leaves picked
3 sprigs mint, leaves picked
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Heat the sunflower oil in a medium sized saucepan over a moderate heat. When shimmering add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes or until beginning to soften. Toss in the garlic and chilli flakes, stir well and cook for a further 5 minutes or until translucent. Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, to caramelise.
Now tip in the tomatoes, along with the basil, mint and rosemary. Stir well and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring every so often. Season with salt and pepper, caster sugar, lemon juice and cayenne pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. Either use immediately or allow to cool before transferring to an airtight jar and storing in the fridge for up to one week.
Preheat the oven to 200c. Grease a 25x30cm or similar baking dish.
Top and tail the zucchinis and slice lengthways to a thickness of approximately 7mm. Set a large frying pan over a high heat. Brush the zucchini slices with oil and cook in batches (you don’t want any over-lapping) for 7-8 minutes or until golden, turning after 3-4 minutes.
Assembly: Ladle 1/3 of the tomato sauce into the prepared baking dish and spread to cover the base. Then cover with a layer of zucchini slices (use 1/3), then ½ of the mozzarella slices, followed by ½ of the boiled egg, 1/3 of the parmesan and half of each of the basil and mint leaves. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and repeat the layering process. Finish with the final 1/3 of courgette, then the final 1/3 of tomato sauce and finally the last of your parmesan.
Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until the cheese is golden and the sides are bubbling. Remove from the oven and leave it to ‘set’ for 15 minutes before serving.
Source: Tomato Sauce is a tastewithoutwaste original, Parmigiana is adapted from The Green Kitchen cookbook.