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Beefsteak tomatoes drawing


I would be among the most boring of all vegetables if it weren't for being schizophrenic. For a start, I have two names - zucchini and courgette. Being somewhat Italian and somewhat French also causes problems of identification for greengrocers. My local greengrocer labels my larger siblings 'zucchinis', and my smaller brothers 'courgettes' or sometimes 'baby courgettes'. I am sometimes told that I am actually a squash, adding further to my problems. Some people even confuse me with the Lebanese cucumber.

So am I one, two or three vegetables? Am I French or am I Italian? What really should I be called? What good am I?

Actually, I am one of the most versatile vegetables any cook could have in the kitchen. I feature in recipes for breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and supper. I can be sliced thick, thin or lengthwise, cut into matchsticks, stuffed, mashed, pulped or blended.

I can be eaten raw, boiled, stewed, fried, sautéed, roasted, grilled or baked. I can enhance a salad, slaw or soup, be made into biscuits or bread, added to noodles, or become the main ingredient in crepe gratin. Add me to rice, couscous, pasta or quinoa, enhance me with passata, walnuts, parmesan, lemon, dried cranberries - whatever you can think of.

I am but a miserable, boring, flavourless vegetable, but I can win every time with my multi-use, multi-personality.

Clare McBeath

Zucchini and smoked cod fritters

2 medium zucchinis, grated and drained
1 medium potato, peeled and grated
2 small smoked cod fillets, cut into small pieces
¼ cup plain flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
Vegetable oil, for shallow frying
Light sour cream
Rocket leaves
Combine zucchini, potato, cod, flour, egg and chives in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Use egg rings to shape fritters. Spoon a tablespoon of zucchini mixture into each ring. Cook for 5 minutes or until golden underneath. Turn, remove rings and cook for 5 minutes or until golden and crisp. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm.

Top the fritters with sour cream and torn rocket leaves.

Zucchini drawing