While all vegetables have a high water content, courgettes have an even higher percentage than most and will therefore collapse if cooked too long, becoming slithery and unpleasant. The best method is to use their internal water to good effect, as here. This is a good way of cooking many similar vegetables, including mangetout or sugar snap peas – and spinach.
Unless the courgettes are very small, in which case cook them whole, top and tail them, then cut them in half lengthwise. Finish by cutting across again to give you pieces about 3 cm / l¼ inches long and season with salt and pepper.
Put the olive oil in a pan with a tight-fitting lid and put over a moderate heat. Add the garlic to the hot oil, stir in and immediately add the courgettes. Put on the lid, shake and cook for 1 ½–2 minutes. Remove from the heat and take off the lid or they will go on cooking.
© 1998 Alastair Little and Richard Whittington estate. All rights reserved.