Florentine Baked Courgettes

Tortino di Zucchine alla Fiorentina

When I was growing up in Tuscany, the kitchen garden was always overflowing with courgettes, their brilliant yellow flowers betraying their hiding places under the big spreading leaves. This very easy dish became a great favourite with us all, because it is perfect for summer meals. It is light yet nourishing and feeds a lot of people quite cheaply. You can also use potatoes, aubergines or artichokes instead of courgettes. For a lighter dish, use only five eggs.

Ingredients

  • 4 very large or 8 small courgettes, topped, tailed and cut lengthways into ¼ inch (5 mm) slices
  • 2–3 tablespoons plain white flour
  • about 7 fl oz (200 ml) sunflower oil plus extra for oiling
  • 8 eggs, beaten
  • 4 tablespoons milk salt and pepper
  • large pinch dried marjoram
  • 1 handful parsley, finely chopped
  • about 4 oz (100 g) Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 heaped tablespoon fresh white breadcrumbs

Method

Coat the courgette slices lightly in flour on both sides. Heat the oil in a wide pan until a small piece of bread dropped into it sizzles instantly. Fry the courgettes until crisp and golden on the outside and soft all the way through. Remove with a slotted spoon or fish slice and drain carefully on kitchen paper.

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5, 375°F (190°C). Oil the bottom and sides of a large ovenproof dish. Arrange a layer of courgettes on the bottom of the dish. Beat together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper, herbs and half the cheese. Pour about one third of this mixture over the layer of courgettes. Cover with another layer of courgettes and continue in this way until you have used up all the courgettes and the egg mixture. Scatter the remaining cheese and the breadcrumbs over the top and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until firm all the way through but not rubbery. Serve hot or just warm.

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