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Char-grilled courgettes on garlic toast with parsley relish

Char-grilling on a griddle/grill pan or barbecue does amazing things to veg, particularly summer courgettes/zucchini, peppers, aubergines/eggplants, onions and tomatoes, managing to enhance their sweetness, while lending a delicious smokiness. The same goes for char-grilled bread. This recipe marries both with a parsley salsa, and makes a perfect light, summery meal.


Serves 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

  • 4 courgettes/zucchini, trimmed

  • extra virgin olive oil, for brushing

  • juice of 1/2 lemon

  • 4–8 slices of crusty open-textured bread, such as ciabatta or sourdough, depending on size of loaf

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved lengthways

  • 55g/2oz vegetarian Parmesan, shaved

  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Parsley relish

  • 2 large handfuls of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus

  • juice of 11/2 lemons

  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

From The Part-Time Vegetarian’s Year

Nourish: 2020
Photography: Haarala Hamilton


Using a mandoline or sharp knife, cut the courgettes/zucchini lengthwise into thin strips, about 2mm/1/16in thick, then brush both sides of the thin slices with oil.


Heat a griddle/grill pan over a high heat (or prepare a barbecue for cooking) and chargrill the courgettes/zucchini for 5 minutes, turning once, or until tender with stripy char marks. You will have to cook the strips in batches – or barbecue them all together. Squeeze over the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, then set aside.


Meanwhile, mix together all the ingredients for the parsley relish, season and set aside.


Next, chargrill the bread on both sides, until toasted and blackened in places – you may need to open a window! Rub the cut-side of the garlic cloves over the top of each bread slice and drizzle over a little oil.


Top with the courgette/zucchini slices and a spoonful of the parsley salsa, then finish with a scattering of Parmesan and grinding of black pepper.

Part-time Variation

Seafood on garlic toast with parsley relish

Top the garlic toasts with char-grilled prawns/shrimp or squid instead of the courgettes/ zucchini and Parmesan. Lightly brush 250g/9oz raw peeled tiger prawns/jumbo shrimp, or the same weight of prepared baby squid, which has been lightly scored with the point of a knife, with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika before char-grilling or barbecuing; it should take about 2–3 minutes for the prawns/shrimp and 1–2 minutes for the squid. Serve as suggested, above. You could also swap the parsley for Greek basil in the salsa.

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