There are lots of green vegetables in the summer garden that are suitable for adding to a bowl of mashed potatoes. There are the obvious ones like cabbage, peas and green onions. Some perhaps more unexpected additions are broad bean leaves, pea leaves, chard leaves and stalks and what I am going to use in this recipe, green or yellow courgettes. Generally speaking, I prefer to use courgettes when they are very small, about 10cm, and crisp with a nutty flavour. Here they can be a bit bigger, say 15cm. If your courgettes are any bigger, half the courgettes and remove the watery seeds before cooking. The potatoes are cooked in the normal way for the mash recipes and the courgettes are coarsely chopped, sautéed with garlic, fennel and chilli in olive oil and added with chicken stock and marjoram to the potatoes. The result should be a green and yellow-flecked bowl of comforting potato softness with a little river of olive oil running through it.
- 700g potatoes
- 500g courgettes, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 level teaspoon fennel seeds, coarsely ground
- 1 pinch chilli flakes
- 4-6 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tblsp marjoram leaves, coarsely chopped
- 100ml chicken or vegetable stock, approximately
- Salt and pepper
- Either green or yellow courgettes will work here or, of course, a combination of both.
- If your courgettes have the flowers attached, remove the stamens and little 'thorns' from the base and fold into the potato with the cooked courgette.
- Chilli flakes can be a source of confusion. They are basically crushed dried chillies. They are also sometimes called hot pepper or hot pepper flakes.
- The sweet marjoram can be replaced with pot marjoram which is closer in taste to oregano.
- Be cautious when adding the chicken stock.
- The better the olive oil, extra virgin as always, the more delicious the result will be.
- Scrub the potatoes really well. Cover with cold water and salt generously. Cover the saucepan with a tight fitting lid and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer.
- The variety of potato and the time of year will determine how careful you will need to be when cooking the potatoes.
- While the potatoes are cooking, cook the courgettes. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan. Add the sliced garlic, crushed fennel seeds and chilli flakes and allow to turn a light golden colour.
- Add the chopped courgettes. Season with salt and pepper and continue to cook on a high heat, stirring occasionally until the courgettes are just starting to wilt. Add half of the marjoram and mix through. Taste and correct seasoning. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm. Immediately the potatoes are cooked, peel them and pass through a vegetable mouli if you wish. This will give a smoother consistency to the finished dish.
- If you don't have a mouli, use an old-fashioned hand masher. It is essential, however, to deal with the potatoes the minute they are cooked, as if they are allowed to cool at all before mashing, they may become gluey.
- Add the warm courgettes and enough of the boiling stock to achieve a soft but not sloppy consistency. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Add 2 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil and the rest of the chopped marjoram. Taste and correct seasoning.
- Transfer to a hot serving dish. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve as soon as possible.