When I was 14 I went to stay with a French family called the Plassards.
They had five children aged between 21 and 11.
They lived during the summer in a large country house on the edge of Paris with their parents and grandparents.
Their mother, Huguette, was a good cook in the French classical manner.
She made a warm courgette salad by steaming or boiling them whole.
She then halved them lengthwise and dressed them with a strong mustard vinaigrette while still warm.
The quantities are as follows:
1tsp Dijon mustard mixed well with 1tbsp red wine vinegar, a pinch of salt and two pinches of sugar.
Then add 3 tbsp of olive oil and emulsify well.
Make sure the courgettes are cooked but still firm.
Spear them with a fork to test.
Then dress with the sauce and eat while still warm.
This year I’ve planted two yellow Athena Polka courgette plants and two Green Defenders.
They’re not over-productive but we’ve had a steady supply for the past six weeks.
We’ve had courgette soup, courgette, lemon and basil linguine and I’ve even made a courgette and walnut cake.
Tonight I’m going make warm courgette salad.
It’ll transport me back to the summer of 1976 and the two weeks I spent with Monique and her rambunctious family, playing “ping pong” in the garden and listening to her eldest brother, Bernard, playing old time sheet music on a piano in the barn loft.