Helen Graves’s blackened courgette panzanella recipe

This is a fun and fiery spin on the classic Tuscan bread salad. Courgettes are completely charred on the outside then lopped into large chunks; once combined with the other ingredients they leak their juice into the bowl and on to the bread. At first it seems a bit odd to add all that blackened skin into the salad but it mingles and adds flavour. You could happily bung a torn buffalo mozzarella into this, too.

courgette panzanella
Rob Billington

SERVES 2
SETUP Direct cooking
PREP TIME 10 minutes
COOK TIME 25 minutes

1 garlic clove
5 anchovy fillets in olive oil
1 tbsp capers, rinsed
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 courgettes
2 slices of stale sourdough or other sturdy bread
1 red onion, very thinly sliced
Small handful of mint leaves, thinly sliced
Generous handful of basil leaves, torn
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Smush the garlic clove, anchovies and a pinch of salt in a pestle and mortar or with the side of a knife.
  2. Combine with the capers, red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and some pepper in a lidded jar or bowl and shake or whisk to combine.
  3. Prepare the barbecue for direct cooking over medium heat. Cook the courgettes, whole, over direct heat, until soft and blackened – around 25 minutes with the lid closed.
  4. Quickly char the bread on the barbecue, then tear into chunks. Chop the courgettes into large chunks and combine with the dressing, red onion and herbs. This is great eaten immediately but will increase in juiciness as it sits.

Buy the book

live fireOur recipes are taken from Live Fire: Seasonal Barbecue Recipes and Stories of Live Fire Traditions Old and New by Helen Graves (Hardie Grant, £26). To order a copy for £22.10 with free p&p until 19 May, go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3176 2937.