Courgette, sweetcorn and chermoula by Helen Graham
For me, the combination of grilled courgettes and sweetcorn represents the height of summer when these vegetables are at their absolute peak, filled with sweetness and crunch. This recipe is inspired by my ex-sous chef, Jake Norman. We received a sample of something called kishk one day, dried labneh cheese, which you can grate like parmesan. Jake grated it over roast pumpkin and served it with chermoula, which is a north African spice paste. This is my summer take on the dish using courgette and sweetcorn. You can, of course, use kishk if you can track it down, but this dish is equally delicious with parmesan – I can also recommend a cheese called Spenwood if you are looking for a vegetarian alternative. If you are going to serve this as a main course, eat it with something starchy like a light rice salad, or a mejadra or tabbouleh.
Serves 4-6 as a starter or side, or 2 as a main
olive oil 3 tbsp
corn 2 ears, fresh, leaves removed
lemon juice a squeeze
parmesan cheese 15g
For the chermoula
red chilli 20g
preserved lemon 1/2, we use Belazu
fresh coriander 175g, roughly chopped
rapeseed oil 160ml
ground cumin 10g
smoked paprika 5g
lemon juice 20ml
Slice the courgettes lengthways and sprinkle with some coarse salt, such as Maldon. Wait half an hour to allow for the salt to draw out a little moisture from the courgettes; this will make the final dish a lot more crunchy and fresh tasting. Brush off the salt and drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over the courgette and sweetcorn.
Heat a griddle pan on a high heat and grill the corn until slightly charred on all sides. Remove and set aside. Place the courgette on the griddle and cook for around 5 minutes, and then flip over, cooking for 2 minutes on the other side. The courgette will be cooked through but still retain a nice bite. Keep an eye on it while griddling – you want the courgette to be slightly charred. Set aside on a chopping board to cool, then cut into 2cm chunks and add to a mixing bowl. Shave the sweetcorn kernels off the husk and add to the mixing bowl, then dress with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and pinch of salt to taste.
To make the chermoula, blend together the garlic, chilli and preserved lemon to a paste. Add the coriander, oil and spices and blend until smooth. Season with the lemon juice and some salt to taste.
To serve, place the sauce on the bottom of a plate and top with the courgette and grilled corn. Grate over the parmesan.