After only a few bites of this luncheon entree at Le Fumoir in Paris, I wrote in my travel diary: "fresh thyme: terrif. with zucchini" and "artichoke fritters as side dish."
The couscous-stuffed zucchinis were napped with a thyme-filled foam. I'm not usually a foam fan, but here it added a lightness often missing in vegetarian dishes. I won't be playing around with foams in my own kitchen, but as the relentless zucchini plants slither far and wide in our garden, I'll be picking thyme for zucchini sautes and cakes rather than automatically reaching for the basil.
Anything to deal with the relentlessly abundant zucchini. I try to practice my own form of zucchini planned parenthood by using the flowers before they develop any further, but the resident gardener has caught on to that tactic and become ardently pro-zucchini-life.
As for those delicious little artichoke fritters: they set me off on a quest for the perfect fritter batter. This will be a summer-long project -- trying Italian OO flour, rice flour, flat beer, sparkling bottled water and other suggestions I've collected. When I experimented with tempura-ish green beans recently, I followed a tip from British chef Angela Hartnett and kept the bowl of batter nestled in a slightly larger bowl of ice water as I worked. According to Hartnett a colder batter is a lighter batter.
Her new cookbook -- "Angela Hartnett's Cucina" -- is excellent. A recipe for chicory, golden raisin and green bean salad is going into the regular rotation here, as is her broad bean, pancetta and courgette salad. After all, a courgette by any other name...