Courgettes marinated with chilli, mint & garlic

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I am always looking for new ways to cook courgettes. Here is an Italian recipe which is piquant with the mix of chilli and vinegar, and sweet with mint. A good choice for a salad accompaniment to a main, part of a tapas type meal or as part of a light lunch. It does require planning advance though, as you need marinate the courgettes for several hours once cooked. Nevertheless it is quick and easy. Perfect for a party!Serves 2 as a side

500 g courgettes
Oil, for frying (olive or vegetable)
1 handful mint
75 ml
red wine vinegar
75 ml water
1 garlic cloves
, peeled and sliced
1/2 small, dried red chilli, crumbled

Slice the courgettes into rounds roughly 3mm thick. If you have time, spread them on a clean cloth and leave them to sit – ideally in the sun, otherwise any dry place – for an hour, turning after 30 minutes.

In a medium frying pan, heat a splash of oil and then, working in batches, fry the rounds until lightly golden. Using a slotted spoon, lift the courgettes on to a kitchen towel to blot.

When drained, layer the courgettes in a bowl, sprinkling salt and tucking ripped mint between each layer and in the gaps.

In a small pan, bring the vinegar, water, garlic and chilli to the boil, and continue to boil for five minutes.

Pour the vinegar mixture over the courgettes, along with three tablespoons of olive oil, either from the frying pan or the bottle. Toss the courgettes, cover, and leave to sit for at least an hour – ideally 24 hours. Taste before serving.

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