Courgette & Rice Gratin


his one is a bit of a guesswork and culinary instinct. I make up the majority of my recipes from going by eye and taste so am constantly having to rush to the laptop at the end of a meal to formulate a trusty recipe with measurements! Due to the varying moisture of your courgette and the foolish way I left writing this one up to a week later its rough but will always be I think. When I make this again, I’ll return to this post and correct any misgivings…So try my chefs, go by eye, taste and gut to get the texture.

This makes a lovely side dish to some grilled chicken or steak. I felt it was  equivalent to but more sustainable than a creamed spinach with its carb element. It’s really moreish and filling and not creamy in the traditional gratin sense. It would also make a great vegetable main with salad dressed with a dijon lemon dressing.

Serves 4 as a side

  • 140g brown rice
  • 3 courgettes, finely grated
  • 2 shallots/1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 50g of grated parmesan
  • 25g butter
  • 1-2 Tbsp plain flour
  • Splash milk
  • Some breadcrumbs
  • 1 lemon, zest
  1. Grate your courgettes into a big bowl and sprinkle over about 2 tsp or two good pinches of flaky salt and set aside. This will draw out the majority of the courgette moisture.
  2. Boil your rice for about 20-25 minutes until just cooked with a slight bite. Check as you go as you don’t want to overcook it; it needs texture. Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add a splash of olive oil. Heat and then gently sweat your shallot/onion for about 8 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and continue to cook for a few minutes.
  4. Put the courgette into a sieve and push through to drain the, now extracted, liquid. Save this liquid in a separate bowl. Don’t worry about getting it really dry, you just want to remove the excess.
  5. Add the grated courgette to the frying pan and the onions and mix well to combine. Fry for a few minutes.
  6. Next, season well with salt and freshly ground pepper and then add the butter and mix until melted.
  7. Add a heaped tablespoon of plain flour and mix well.
  8. Next, (ironically) you want to add some of that courgette ‘juice’ back in, but at your control. Add in stirring well to stop the flour getting lumpy until it starts to thicken a bit – here is where you need to use your instincts!
  9. Once added, top up with milk if you want a looser texture, I added a splash but my courgette ‘juice’ was about 100ml.
  10. Grate in all but a handful of the parmesan and the zest from half the lemon and mix until the cheese is melted.
  11. Tip into a baking dish.
  12. Scatter with the breadcrumbs and the reserved parmesan and season.
  13. Bake at 180 for about 20 minutes or until golden and hot through!