Quick and Simple Courgette Bean Boats
I was fancying courgettes, but instead of using then as a side, nice as it is as a side dish, I wanted to make the courgette the hero. As Cottage Pie was going to be a midweek dish, I decided against using meat and so concentrated on legumes. With the cheese, olives, pine nuts and tomato salsa it is very filling so no need to make an imitation imam bayildi dish.
3 Long green courgettes (or yellow or both)
6 thin slices Emmental cheese
1 can chopped tomato (Mutti)
1 can Tesco Best cherry tomato
1 can cannellini beans (Casa Rinaldi)
1 can Cocktail Di Legumi (Casa Rinaldi)
1 bottle Mutti Pasata
Worcestershire Sauce (Lee & Perrins)
Chopped black olives
Parmesan cheese (grated)
First prepare your salsa as it is best to keep cooking long and slow after the initial boil to develop the flavours. This stage can always be done in advance or even the day before, though if you need to make it in a hurry, just allow 20 minutes to bring everything to the boil.
Heat the tomato and bean cocktail and bring to the boil on a medium-high heat, adding the condiments. Lastly adding the pine nuts and olives and thoroughly mixing everything together. If going low and slow, after bringing the tomatoes and beans to the boil, let everything simmer on low heat for an hour.
Cut the courgettes in half lengthwise and place in the oven dish after topping and tailing them. Score the area around the seeds with a sharp knife and scoop out the seeds and flesh with a spoon. Do we trash the seeds and flesh? Certainly not! I used the scooped courgette flesh for my cottage pie, though one could equally well use the flesh to add to the salsa.
Then we assemble the dish, first we cut the emmental cheese slices in half lengthwise to make 12 strips and line the hollowed courgette.
Spoon some of the salsa liquid into the oven dish to prevent the courgette bottoms from burning and to generate some steam when baking. Spoon the bean/tomato mixture into the hollow courgettes and after filling all six courgettes, place the remaining six strips of emmental over the stuffing as a topping. Spread any remaining bean/tomato salsa into the oven dish and around the courgettes and dust with grated parmesan.
Into a pre-heated oven (350 degrees) place the covered dish and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Uncover and allow to brown for 5 to 10 minutes and serve.
If you are feeling adventurous and fancy giving the dish a Caucasian twist, instead of the initial lining of cheese, you could make a paste of ground walnut, garlic and coriander powder and leaves, plus some Lebanese 7 spice powder and maybe a dash of lemon juice. The oil from the walnut and garlic and lemon juice will bind the paste and this would then become the first base layer. Add the rest of the ingredients as above.