The key to this salad is to start a couple of hours before you are due to eat. You can get away with just an hour…. or with four. But the oil needs time to infuse and the courgette to lose its excess liquid – you can even make it a week or so ahead – keep in the fridge.
If you want to add a bit more excitement to this salad – to enable it to ‘stand alone’, you could throw in a handful of raisins and some feta.
This salad goes well with some thinly sliced prosciutto or salami. Alternatively with grilled chicken breasts, and some crushed lemony potatoes.
Recipe for courgette and walnut salad with infused oil
- 2 courgettes
- 3 tbsps walnut oil
- a few sprigs of thyme – about eight
- ½ lemon
- 1 clove of garlic
- 50g/about half a cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- a couple of laden stems of basil
- smoked salt and freshly ground black pepper – a corn or two of Indonesian long black pepper if you have it
- crusty bread to serve
- Dry fry the walnut pieces in a small saucepan. Take out of the saucepan and set aside.
- Pour the oil into the same saucepan and warm VERY gently.
- Cut strips off the lemon and add to the oil. Add four of the sprigs of thyme, add to the oil. Crush the garlic, skin and all, add to the oil. Add a couple of peppercorns too. Take off the heat, cover and leave for an hour or so.
- Cut the courgettes into ribbons using a potato peeler. Put in a colander or a sieve and add a little salt. Leave for an hour or so.
- When you are ready to serve, pat the courgette dry with a cloth, and put into a small salad bowl.
- Pass the infused oil through a sieve (use the same one the courgettes were in – don’t bother to wash up) onto the courgettes. Squeeze over the lemon, stir through well.
- Tear over most of the basil leaves and most of the walnuts. Serve, garnished with the remainder, and some warm crusty bread.