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Kolokithokorfádes - 'Eat-It-All' Braised Courgettes

This is a vegetarian recipe from the Peloponnese, mainland Greece. Really it should be made with the tender shoots of the courgette plants, as well as the actual courgettes. Good fresh spinach is a reasonable substitute.
Course Meze
Cuisine Greek
Servings 4

Equipment

  • A sautée pan or low, wide pan. (See 'Practicalities, Hints and Cheats')

Ingredients
  

  • 1 kg fresh spinach (or well-trimmed, very young courgette leaves)
  • 500 gm baby courgettes, with their flowers if possible
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill and/or fennel fronds
  • 50 gm butter For vegans, substitute this with 50ml olive oil
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 4 tomatoes, grated Grating tomatoes on a coarse grater is very common in Greek cookery. It gives you a fine dice of the flesh without seeds or too much liquid.
  • A little water
  • 100 ml milk (optional - if you don't use milk, more water will be needed.)
  • salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 150 gm Feta, crumbled (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Wash and prepare the courgettes and/or the spinach.
    Baby courgettes and their flowers
  • In a low, wide pan (see 'Practicalities, Hints and Cheats') heat the oil and butter. If you're doing the vegan version, just the oil.
  • Add the chopped onion and cook on a low heat until it is soft.
  • Now add the grated tomato and increase the heat for a minute, just so a sauce starts to form. Add a few tablespoons of water and reduce the heat.
  • Add the spinach and the courgettes and courgette tops, if you have them. Bring to a steady simmer and then pop the lid on the pan. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Once the leaves and courgettes have started to cook, add the milk and the chopped parsley and dill. Reduce the heat and cook for a further 10-15 minutes on a low heat, making sure that the mix doesn't start to catch on the bottom of the pan. Gentle but regular stirring !! A little water may be required.
  • Once everything is tender and cooked, remove from the heat. Sprinkle with some crumbled feta (optional) and serve.
    Finish kolokithokorfádes with some crumbled feta
Keyword Kolokithokorfades