For those who grow vegetables it can be a mission to pick, use or store all the fruits and vegetables when they come thick and fast during the summer months. Courgettes can become marrows - seemingly overnight! - and the more beans you pick the more they plant will produce. So, here are some recipes that can help use up some of those wonderful summer ingredients. Happy Cooking! E.L.
TIAN (Serves 4 / 6)
It is worth slicing all these onions as long, slow cooking of the onions before topping with courgettes and tomatoes concentrates the flavours, making a sweet and aromatic dish - great as a light lunch with crusty bread or as an accompaniment to barbecued lamb or fish.
1kg / 2¼ lbs onions, peeled and finely sliced
50ml / 2fl oz olive oil
salt and pepper
4 large tomatoes
2 large courgettes
Heat the oven to 160° C / Gas 3
Put the onions and olive oil in a large frying pan and add half a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of sugar. Pour over 100ml / 3½ fl oz water, cover and cook over a moderate heat until the onions are soft and creamy, without allowing them to brown. This should take about 10 minutes. Remove the lid and continue cooking over a slightly higher heat for about 15 minutes. Stir frequently, until the onions are a dark caramel colour and all the liquid has gone. Spoon the onions into the base of a shallow, ovenproof dish.
Slice the tomatoes and courgettes about 1cm (½ inch) thick and arrange them in overlapping rows over the onions. Season with a little salt and pepper and sprinkle on some fresh thyme leaves. Drizzle some extra olive oil over the top and cover the dish with foil. Bake for 45 minutes then remove the foil and bake for a further 30 - 45 minutes.
GREEN BEANS WITH ANCHOVIES, OLIVES AND TOMATOES (Serves 4)
This simple dish is good served with fish, chicken or meat. It is also good on its own - hot or at room temperature - with some nice crusty bread. For a vegetarian option, substitute the anchovies for half a block of Feta cheese, roughly cubed.
225g / 8 oz green beans, topped and tailed
approx. 20 cherry tomatoes
12 small black olives
a handful of fresh basil leaves
small tin anchovy fillets
Preheat the oven to 200° C / Gas 6. Toss the beans into a pan of boiling water for 3-4 minutes or until just tender. Drain and spread them into a shallow-sided ovenproof dish. Add the whole cherry tomatoes, the black olives and basil leaves. Drizzle over the olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) and season with pepper. Give everything a good shake and mix up, then lay the anchovy fillets over the top. Cook in the hot oven for 10 minutes.