COURGETTE AND GOAT'S CHEESE BREAD

Courgettes are well and truly in season at the moment, and can be spotted springing up everywhere.

I've experienced bland, uninspiring courgettes on many occasions in the UK (the poor excuse for ratatouille that many restaurants offer being my least favourite!) But courgettes are in fact a wonderfully fresh and versatile vegetable which can work in salads and also in this bread dish. 

If we ever get some sun and a dry day, this bread would make the ideal food for a picnic: easy to transport and perfect for sharing.



Preparation time 1 hour 20 minutes; baking time 55 minutes


Ingredients

For the bread
400g strong white bread flour
2 tsp dried yeast
1 tsp salt
240ml water
40ml olive oil

For the filling
250g courgettes, grated
100g goat’s cheese
Small handful fresh basil, shredded
Juice and zest of ½ lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
3 spring onions

Method

To make the bread, mix together the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the oil and water. Mix gently until the ingredients come together to form a dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. To knead the dough, use the heel of your hand to stretch it out in front of you. Fold the stretched dough back on itself, turn 90º and repeat the process.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel or clingfilm. Leave to rise for around an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.



While the dough is proving, make the filling. Heat a frying pan with 1 tbsp olive oil and sauté the onion for one minute. Add the courgettes and cook for a further two minutes or until water starts to come out of them. Remove from the heat and place the courgettes in a sieve. Squeeze as much liquid out of them as possible before mixing with the basil and lemon. Leave to cool.



Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 180 ºC and grease a 20cm (9”) round spring form tin with oil. Carefully turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll gently with a rolling pin to a rectangle shape about 1.5cm thick. Be sure not to knock too much air out of the dough.



Spread the filing evenly over the dough and sprinkle with crumbled goat’s cheese. Roll into a spiral and cut into six or eight even slices.  Place the slices in the greased tin and bake for 55 minutes. Remove from the oven, brush with the remaining olive oil and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool completely.