Cucuzza aru furnu (Grandma's baked courgettes)
This baked courgettes recipe is typical of my hometown and it was (and still is) one of my great-grandmother and mom's signature dishes. It brings me back to my childhood and to summertime at home in Calabria...
3-4 big courgettes
A spoonful of salt
*Flour for coating
2 garlic cloves
3-4 bay leaves
A spoonful of sweet paprika
A spoonful of hot paprika
Cut the courgettes lengthways, carve the flesh and slice the skin lengthways about 5mm thick. In a bowl, mix the sliced courgettes with a spoonful of salt, combine well and leave it to rest for at least 1 hour, but the longer the better as the salt will marinade the courgettes.
Once ready, squeeze the courgettes bit by bit with your own hands in order to remove any excess water. Transfer them into a dish with flour and coat all of them. Meanwhile, heat the oven at 180°C and grease a baking tray with olive oil.
Transfer the flour-coated courgettes into the tray, add the crushed garlic cloves, bay leaves, season with paprika and sprinkle with some more olive oil. Bake for about 20 minutes and voilà, dinner is served!
*Zero-waste tip: don’t throw away the flesh of the courgettes, use it for another recipe.
*Replace plain flour with rice flour for a gluten-free version.