Purée de courgettes au basilic

Zucchini purée with basil

Steam a couple of garden-fresh zucchini, blend with a sauce of fresh basil, garlic and olive oil, add salt and pepper, and voilà — you have a zesty, healthy veggie dish that works well as a side for pretty much anything. And it takes only 15 minutes to prepare.

For best results, use the freshest possible zucchini. For more zest, you can add a little grated parmesan to the sauce. Other variations are described below. The purée can be served as soon as it’s ready or reheated gently later. This recipe will serve 2-3 people.

2 medium zucchini (courgettes)
1 bunch fresh basil
1 clove garlic
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. plus 1 pinch fine sea salt or table salt
freshly ground black pepper

Rinse the zucchini, chop into largish chunks, place in the steamer and steam until tender, about 10 minutes.

While the zucchini is steaming, remove any woody stems from the basil. Set aside a couple of leaves for garnish. The remaining leaves and tender stems should make about 1 cup of basil, loosely packed. Transfer to your blender along with the garlic, peeled and chopped. Add the olive oil and a pinch of salt. Blend. Set aside 1-2 tsp. of the sauce for later.

When the zucchini is ready, add it to the blender — or, if using a handheld blender, turn the zucchini into a bowl and add the basil sauce. Add 1 tsp. salt and the pepper. Blend.

Taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary. Transfer to a serving dish, drizzle with the reserved basil sauce, garnish with basil leaves and serve piping hot. Serves 2-3.

Variations:

1) Grate about a tablespoon of parmesan. Important: do not use the pre-grated, store-bought variety. Add to the warm purée.

2) Omit the basil sauce and instead add about 1/2 tsp. ground cumin or freshly grated nutmeg to the puréed zucchini. Add 1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice. Add 1-2 tbsp. crème fraîche, heavy cream or, if vegan, coconut milk. Stir well to blend.


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