Zucchini are abundant in summer and it is the heirloom varieties, available in most markets and fruit and vegetable shops, that I always go for. They seem to hold less liquid than the standard green ones, are firmer and stand up well when cooked. For a simple healthy lunch, serve this alongside a platter of perfectly ripe tomatoes, sliced and dressed with olive oil and salt, and a few slices of grilled bread. For a vegetarian version, remove the anchovies and bottarga.
4 cloves garlic
80ml olive oil, plus extra for grilling zucchini
pinch of dried chilli
1 tbsp capers (soaked and chopped)
1 tbsp castor sugar
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
600g heirloom zucchini (about 3 medium zucchini)
2 tbsp pinenuts, roasted and roughly chopped
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp shredded basil
1 tbsp lemon juice
2½-cm piece of bottarga
1. Finely dice the celery and chop the garlic. Warm the olive oil over a moderate heat and gently cook the celery, chilli and garlic until soft and aromatic, about 10 minutes. Next add the chopped capers, sugar, vinegar and anchovies, continue to cook for a few minutes until the anchovies have broken down. Remove from heat and transfer to a mixing bowl. Allow to cool.
2. Meanwhile preheat your grill. Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise and brush with a little olive oil. Place cut side down on the grill and cook for a few minutes until charred. Turn over and cook the skin side for a moment. The zucchini need to be charred on each side but not cooked all the way through – a slightly firm texture is desirable. Once cooked, set aside to cool.
3. When cool slice the zucchini across into one-centimetre slices and toss in the celery marinade. Leave to marinate for a few hours at room temperature.
4. To serve, add the chopped pinenuts, parsley, basil and lemon juice and mix well. Finally, arrange the zucchini on a platter and dust the dish with a generous amount of grated bottarga. Eat immediately.
If you like this recipe, try my zucchini pickles