This recipe is inspired by kousa b’laban, a Levantine dish of stuffed baby marrow cooked in yoghurt. In this simplified version the yoghurt sauce and grilled courgettes are cooked separately, then served with a quick saffron butter to spoon on top.
There’s a bit of an art to cooking yoghurt without having it curdle; stabilisers such as cornflour and egg yolk tend to do the trick, as does cooking the yoghurt on a moderate heat, stirring continuously and gently warming through without boiling. The result: a silky-smooth and tangy sauce, great for these courgettes but also with other grilled veggies, fatty meats or even as a sauce to pasta.
30g unsalted butter
1⁄4 tsp saffron threads, roughly crushed
4 small, pale green or regular courgettes, tops trimmed slightly and courgettes halved lengthways (600g)
21⁄2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cornflour
300g Greek-style yoghurt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1⁄2 tsp dried mint
3⁄4 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and roughly crushed with a pestle and mortar
11⁄2 tbsp picked mint leaves
salt and black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to a high grill setting.
2. Put the butter and saffron into a small saucepan on a medium heat. When the butter has melted, set aside to infuse.
3. Place the courgettes on a parchment-lined baking tray and toss with 2 tablespoons of oil, 1⁄3 teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Arrange them cut side up and grill for 15–20 minutes, until nicely charred and softened.
4. Towards the last 10 minutes of grilling time, make the sauce. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornflour and 3 tablespoons of water until smooth, then add the yoghurt, garlic, dried mint, the remaining 1⁄2 tablespoon of oil and 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt. Whisk to combine, then transfer to a large, non-stick sauté pan on a medium heat. Cook, stirring continuously, for about 10 minutes, or until thickened slightly and warmed through. Do not let the sauce boil, or it will split.
5. Transfer the warm yoghurt sauce to a plate with a lip and top with the courgettes, grilled side up. Spoon over the saffron butter, then sprinkle with the coriander seeds and mint leaves. Squeeze over the lemon half and serve right away.