I’ve rifled today’s recipe for Courgette Polpette (the Italian name for meatballs, which you pronounce pohl / PET / teh) from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook. He in turn, adapted his recipe from the Italian cookery writer Ursula Ferrigno.
Unabashed, Primal Plate has adjusted the recipe again to convert it into very tasty, grain-free, low-carb finger food for grown-ups and children alike. Sarah and I have trialled these on the run between venues at Mirror Imaging weddings over the past two weekends and, it’s official, we both think these vegetarian nuggets of goodness are picnic fare extraodinaire! Piled into individual lunch boxes alongside sweet, organic cherry tomatoes and cubes of feta cheese, with a bamboo stick to spear them directly into our hungry mouths, it is the most delicious and sustaining, no-mess, packed lunch I’ve ever eaten!
Easy to make and really, really yummy, these little nibbles would also be great served-up as canapés or as a vegetarian main course served straight out of the oven with homemade tomato sauce. Alternatively, serve them hot, warm or cold with a fresh Tomato Salad and/or our Speedy Seedy No-Grain Soda Bread.
In addition to being healthy and Paleo/Primal friendly, Courgette Polpette are a fantastic way to use up a glut of home-grown courgettes. In fact, if you don’t own an allotment, this is the time of year to make friends with someone who does! Demand for these moreish morsels could well outstrip the seemingly endless bounty of easy-to-grow courgettes that beleaguers most gardeners at the height of the growing season, which just happens to be now.
In fact, I could happily eat Courgette Polpette ad infinitum for breakfast, lunch or supper. They will keep for several days in the refrigerator and as a stand-by treat for summertime get-togethers - and for busy wedding photographers - they’re an absolute winner.
Courgette Polpette (makes about 24)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 organic shallots, finely chopped
500g organic courgettes, cut into small dice
Grated zest of an organic lemon
1 medium organic egg, lightly beaten
30g finely grated parmesan-style cheese (or other well-flavoured hard cheese)
½ ball of vegetarian mozzarella, drained, dried and cut into small dice
50g organic pine nuts, lightly toasted
1-2 tbsp chopped parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil or melted butter - for greasing
Line a large baking sheet with non-stick tin foil and then brush over the surface of the foil with a little olive oil or melted butter.
Heat the oven to 200C / 390F/ Gas mark 6.
Dice the courgettes and chop the shallots.
Whilst you’re preparing the vegetables, lightly toast the pine nuts in a small dry frying pan over a low heat - keep your eye on them, they can quickly turn from golden to burnt! When they're lightly toasted, take the pan off the heat and set aside to cool.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft but not browned. Add the courgettes to the pan and continue to fry over a medium heat for a further 10-12 minutes until tender and golden. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, combine the cooled courgette mixture with the rest of the ingredients, season well, then form into small balls the size of a walnut (you’ll need approximately 25g for each polpetta).
Place on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown.
Serve hot, warm or cold.
Carbohydrate 13g Protein 15g - per serving (approx. 2g carbohydrate per polpetta)