Corgetes secados em sol

Today was by far the hottest day of the year. I was as frazzled as a fried courgette and it gave me the idea for this dish.I needed a simple vegetarian starter for one of our guests but at the same time one that created an element of surprise . This particular guest spent most of the day chilling on a sun lounger in a shady nook of the Casa Rosada garden,nodding off on her Dick Francis.Meanwhile, her dinner, drying naturally on a wooden board under a towel on the garden wall, was the novelty.With the addition of some simple kitchen garden ingredients, mint and garlic,a blob of  aged balsamic and a smidgen of extra virgin olive oil,a graphic modern plate awaited her arrival at the dinner table in the garden.
This style of cooking is originally Neapolitan, and is often applied to fish such as sardines as well as vegetables.Aubergines and strips of peppers can be prepared in the same way, so an eminently suitable cooking technique to apply to local early summer Portuguese produce.
 It can be eaten either as a vegetable dish on its own or as a salad.It can be eaten straight away but the marinading process intensifies the flavours.The longer it is left,the stronger it will be,but it is so good you won´t be able to leave it alone for very long.It also was not very long before I felt a blog post coming on and called upon the photographic expertise and camera of the thespian to record my creation.It is so delicious and summery that I would suggest doubling the quantities from the outset.

Sun-dried Courgettes with mint and garlic
Serves 6
9 large courgettes,topped and tailed
175 ml(6fl oz) olive oil
large handful of fresh mint leaves,coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves,peeled and finely sliced
aged balsamic vinegar for dressing
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Flor de sal
Cut the courgettes into thin slices lengthways. Place them on a wooden board, cover with a cloth and leave them in the sun to dry for about 3 hours.Alternatively, put them in the oven at 140ºC /275F / gas mark 1 for about 1 hour to dry out completely without colouring.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan and fry all the dried courgette slices, in batches if necessary,until golden.Don´t bother to turn them over.drain carefully on kitchen paper.
Transfer the courgette slices to adish and sprinkle with the mint,garlic,vinegar,olive oil and Flor de sal.
Cover and leave to stand for about 4 hours in a cool place or even better overnight.


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