As the courgettes keep on growing and the weather begins to turn, it was time to think of more substantial uses for them and their flowers. I was reminded of a bread I once had in Rome that used elderflowers and decided that grated courgettes could take their place. They sit happily between the saltiness of some cured ham and the freshness of ricotta and basil. The result is somewhere between a bread and a savoury cake – fairly dense but happy on a table amongst autumn salads or as a side to soup. It also looks pretty great, I think.
Pane di Zucchine
Makes one loaf in a 23cm cake tin or large loaf tin
250g plain flour
100g corn flour
5g dried yeast
3 tablespoons grated parmesan/pecorino
100g cured ham such as speck cut into small pieces (optional)
500g grated courgette
80ml good quality olive oil
3 tablespoons ricotta (optional)
handful chopped basil
generous pinch of salt
courgette flowers (optional)
Mix the grated courgette with a pinch of salt and leave for 10 minutes before wringing out moisture with a clean tea towel.
Combine well all of the ingredients in a large bowl except the salt and courgette flowers, if using. It should be of a cake mix consistency – add a little more milk if it isn’t. Add the salt and stir in before placing in a greased non-stick cake or loaf tin. Add the flowers on top. Leave to rise slightly in a warm place for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden on top and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool on a rack before removing from tin.
This is a soft bread so keep it in the fridge. Also great toasted.