In a previous recipe I used the spiraliser to make courgette fritters ‘lighter’ than with using the grater. This time around, I wanted to do something new with a combination of the summer flavours of aubergine, cherry tomatoes, courgettes and chicken breasts, with courgettes as the star of the show. I also knew that while I had time for preparation, cooking time was going to limited. In this respect, I am deeply indebted to our very own Jamie Oliver’s 30 minute meals, in that the forward planning aspect saves critical time (especially if that is not abundant!).
First thing after breakfast, I cubed the chicken breasts and made my marinade. This was made up from shallots, sea-salt, pepper, garlic, ginger, lemon and orange juice (freshly squeezed) and yoghurt. The chicken breast cubes were then thoroughly coated, covered and set aside in the fridge for later. Yoghurt is a wonderful tenderiser.
Getting towards the mealtime, I heated a decent quantity of olive oil, note that I do love butter, but most of the dish is composed of more Mediterranean flavours that I wanted to work together. The chicken went in for a burst of high-heat sealing fry with a toss of dried oregano and some chilli flakes; enough to give character without blasting with heat. Having said that, the individual tolerance for peppers generally, varies a great deal, not least in Kuwait. Once the batch was cooked, the heat was lowered and left to simmer gently. Active, but gentle.
Later I spiralised the ‘topped and tailed’ courgettes. Leaving a tiny bit of stalk for the spiraliser to grip the vegetable. Then the strands were cut into manageable lengths with a kitchen scissors. The core that is left when using a spiraliser I chopped up fine. No peeling, just washing. No food waste. The courgettes were then coated in salt to draw out the water and set aside in the fridge. Have at your side some lemon juice, ground almond, parmesan and/or maybe some breadcrumbs and/or pesto Genovese.
To the cook-off. I cubed a packet of Greek goat’s feta cheese, setting aside. Aubergines cubed, salted and dusted with flour. More Extra Virgin Olive Oil heated and the cubes are first in the pan. I use a very wide frying pan so everything can get a decent heat at the same time. Once the surface of the aubergines starts to brown a packet of cherry tomatoes is next. Whole ones. Agitate the pan so they get an even coating of oil and heat. Once they implode, they are cooked. Next co the courgetti spaghetti in stir-fried mode. Stir gently, courgette does not need much time, especially in fine strands. Pour the lemon juice, shake the pan and add the chicken with a slotted spoon, the cheese, the parmesan, almond and pesto.
The sentence before last does not take time. Everything needs to be hot, cooked, but not burnt offerings. For vegetarians, the chicken is optional of course, but should the chicken be used, the marinade (and the cooking) generates quite an amount of liquid, this needs not to be thrown and for during the week my much better half cooked the remaining chicken breasts and mushroom using the stock. Again, the message, 30% of all food grown is wasted from different sources and for different reasons. We need not add to the waste and can utilise as much as possible. This is both a moral and economic position. There is also the practical position that why should we waste perfectly good or indeed excellent nutrition? We need not.
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