This recipe is completely shamelessly copied from the Konobo Menego on Hvar in Croatia, after I overheard a waiter describe it to a fellow diner. Our meal there was probably the highlight of the trip to Hvar, along with being told by two separate people that my choice of drink was not suitable for a lady. We managed to coincide with a massive rainstorm and the coldest days on record that year in Croatia (despite it being May and Hvar being famed for its year-long sunshine). It seems that rain in Croatia is taken as an excuse to skive off work, being the exact opposite of Ireland and the UK where sunshine causes everyone to spend all day lying in the sun like cats. Everything on the island closed, even the museum and churches, with the exception of a couple of restaurants and the supermarket.
Food in Croatia has quite an Italian influence, due to quite a lot of time under the control of the Venetian Empire, and this dish is a good example of that. It is very quick and easy to make, and can also have its component parts sorted out earlier in the day and be put together at the last minute. It is a great Summer starter or as a part of an antipasta. It is not strictly vegetarian, given the inclusion of parmesan, but a good strong cheddar could work as a veggie substitute.
Serves 2 as a starter, or 4 as part of an antipasta selection
- 2 small courgettes
- 1 tablespoon grated parmesan or vegetarian substitute
- ½ tablespoon toasted pine nuts
- ½ tablespoon toasted pistachios
- 1 small finely chopped shallot
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (optional)
- Trim and wash the courgettes.
- Thinly slice the courgettes into ribbons, or peel using a vegetable peeler or mandolin.
- Steam, or blanche in boiling water for 1 minute.
- Refresh with cold water and leave to dry in a colander.
- Pat dry with kitchen paper once it has cooled.
- Mix the oil, vinegar and lemon zest to form a dressing.
- Lay the courgette slices on a plate and drizzle over the dressing.
- Top with the shallot, grated cheese, pine nuts and pistachios.
- Season well and serve.