As a dedicated follower of food fashion, it is about time I produced a recipe involving some spiralised veg. It seems to be all the rage with skinny people who are petrified of potatoes and pasta, and although I have had mine for a while (for fusilli does give me nightmares), those photogenic girls from Helmsleyx2 have recently brought this healthy noodling gadget to the masses via their cookery slots on daytime TV.
For those wanting to ditch the carbs, turning a courgette into spaghetti-like strings is a great way to bulk out a meal. Quick and easy to cook in a hot pan, the stir-fried tendrils coat well with sauce. Just be sure to make it a punchy one because courgette itself doesn't have much flavour. I find Med flavours complement the courgette well - think capers, anchovies, tomato and olives, so what better than a Puttanesca sauce, literally the sauce of whores. As everybody knows, there is nothing worse than feeling bloated when one goes a whoring. Add some protein in the form of some pan-fried red mullet or a fillet of bass or bream and hey presto, you have a low calorie nutritious meal. Make a big batch of sauce and keep it portioned in the freezer and then you have a 5 minute meal whenever you need one.
For the Puttanesca Sauce
1 onion, diced
2 tin chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp sugar
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp capers
2 tsp black pitted olives, roughly chopped
2 anchovy fillets
pinch of chilli flakes
Sweat the onion in the olive oil for 7 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Add the tomatoes and sugar and simmer on a low heat for 45 minutes until the sauce has reduced and darkened. Add the remaining ingredients and place in a food processor to blend. Taste and season.
For the courgetti and red mullet
2 courgettes, spiralised
2 fillets red mullet
1 tbsp sunflower oil
Small basil leaves for garnish
A few generous tablespoons of puttanesca sauce
extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper.
In a frying pan, heat 1/2 the oil until hot then season the fish fillets on both sides. Place the fish into the pan skin side down and cook for 2 minutes to crisp the skin. Take the pan off the heat and turn the fillets over and leave to cook through for a further minute off the heat. Remove from the pan and allow to rest on a warm plate.
While the fish is resting, heat a large frying pan or wok with the remaining oil. Add the courgette and stir fry for a minute or so until the vegetable starts to soften. Add enough sauce to coat the courgette, then taste and season. When ready, transfer to serving bowls and garnish with basil leaves. Place a fish fillet on top and drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil. Serve hot.