Only 7 more sleeps to go before my favourite national holiday bar Christmas – National Braai Day. (For my Aussie and American readers, BRAAI = barbie/barbeque). Now I know calling it Braai Day instead of Heritage Day is tantamount to treason in the eyes of many a politician. Fortunately I don’t give a fig. Braai is my heritage and on 24 September, I’m lighting a monster fire.
And seeing that I am going to all that trouble, I may as well chuck on more than just meat. So I’ll be starting my Braai Day feast with a braaied courgette and chick pea salad with loads of lemon for the fresh, chilli – because some like it hot – and cooling mint – because some don’t. Add double-thick dill tzatziki and pita breads toasted on the braai (you’re spotting a theme here right?), and I’m happy.
All you need is…
3 tbs good olive oil
1½ tbs lemon juice
½ tsp crushed garlic
generous pinch of salt
generous pinch of freshly ground black pepper
10 large courgettes
1 tin chick peas, rinsed and drained
large handful of mint leaves
handful of flatleaf parsley
half a red chilli, seeded and sliced into paper-thin fronds
100g feta cheese, roughly crumbled
zest of half a lemon, sliced into paper-thin fronds
Make a dressing by mixing the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper to taste and set aside for at least an hour. The longer it stands, the better it gets.
Slice the courgettes lengthwise in 3mm thick slices. (I leave the tops on as I love the little flower shape that forms when you slice them.) Brush the courgettes with olive oil on both sides. Place them on the braai and turn once the side facing down has nice sear marks. Once your courgettes are done on both sides and soft, they’re ready to come off. Place them in a bowl and add the chick peas and dressing. Let it stand for at least half an hour. Add the rest of the ingredients just before serving. I love serving this with some giant green olives (the Woolies one is deevine), a bowl of baby tomatoes still on the vine (for the pretty), some dill tzatziki (click here) and pita breads that I paint lightly with olive oil and briefly toast on the braai.
Note: If you do not want to do this dish on the braai, a griddle pan works just as well.