On today’s special weekend episode of ‘le petit oeuf’ I’ve got some utterly fantastic courgette parcels for you, small bundles of joy stuffed with earthy spinach, pine nuts, sweet golden raisins and oozing feta cheese. They might look tricky to make, but these little bundles of joy are incredibly straightforward and deliver a really high level ‘wow’ factor to the table.
I like to think of them as individual, savoury, gluten free vegetable pies, crafted from pure courgette. There’s no pastry, therefore no gluten and depending on you and your friend’s diets, that can be a huge bonus. It’s a recipe that would be a sure-fire hit regardless of whether your diners are vegetarian or not, it’s got a bundle of great flavours that combine beautifully and a delicate presence that inspires a hint of reverence when presented. They’re also incredibly rewarding to make, because they look so good when finished, yet there’s nothing complicated involved in making them.
So, without further adieu, I present to you these little morsels of magnificence! Enjoy!
Spinach and feta courgette bundles
By Gavin Wren
Uses a 6 or 12 hole shallow pie tin
160g spinach leaves
2 medium courgettes
1 teaspoon olive oil
Quarter of a red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons pine nuts
A pinch of crushed chilli
Juice of half a lemon
100g feta, crumbled
6-8 cocktail sticks
Fill your kettle with water and bring it to the boil. Wash the spinach leaves and place in a colander or sieve in the sink, when the kettle has boiled, pour it all over the spinach to wilt it. Leave the spinach to dry and cool whilst you prepare the rest of the recipe.
Place your pine nuts in a dry pan over a high heat and cook for about 5 minutes, or until well browned and toasted.
Top and tail the courgette, then using a vegetable peeler slice it along it’s length into long ribbons, you need 3 good slithers per bundle.
Pour half the olive oil into one of the holes in the pie tin, then using a pastry brush, oil six of the holes. Now lay three strips of courgette across each pie hole in a star shape, placing your ‘best’ strips of courgette on the bottom of each hole.
Take your spinach and squeeze it out thoroughly, use your hands to squish as much water out of it as possible. Roughly chop it up and place in a bowl. Add the pine nuts, red onion, raisins, crushed chilli, lemon juice and feta. Mix well until all the ingredients are well distributed through the mix.
Divide this mix between the six courgette nests, pressing it down into them, then fold the courgette strips over the top, with your bottom strip folding over last, then secure them all in place with a cocktail stick. Brush the tops of the bundles with the other half of the olive oil.
Place the tray in the oven for 25 minutes, then remove and serve whilst still hot.