From a very young age, one of Neven's favourite pastimes was to shadow his mother in the kitchen, watching her cook; his pastime soon became ...
550 g courgettes (trimmed and coarsely grated)
100g ground rice
3 tblsp shredded basil leaves (plus extra sprigs to serve)
75 g parmesan cheese (freshly grated)
1 egg (lightly beaten)
50 g pine nuts (lightly toasted)
100 ml olive oil
1 ripe plum tomato (de-seeded and finely diced)
4 sun-dried tomatoes (preserved in oil, drained and finely chopped)
1 small shallot (peeled and finely chopped)
100 g wild rocket
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Courgettes have a naturally high water content, so in this recipe it is important that they are squeezed dry after grating. This will ensure that the rostis are lovely and crisp, as they should be.
Squeeze the grated courgette in a clean tea towel until it is as dry as possible and tip it into a large bowl. Mix in the ground rice, basil, Parmesan, egg and pine nuts and stir thoroughly to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and divide into 18 evenly sized balls, then flatten slightly into patties.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and carefully add half of the patties. Cook for 2–3 minutes on each side or until cooked through, crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm, covered loosely with foil or in a low oven. Repeat with another tablespoon of olive oil and the remaining patties.
To make the dressing, place the remaining olive oil in a bowl and add the diced plum tomato, chopped sun-dried tomatoes and shallot and then season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir until well combined.
Place a few rocket leaves down one side of four serving plates, arrange three rostis in the centre of each plate and spoon a little of the tomato dressing next to the rostis to serve.