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The Ottolenghi Test Kitchen’s Grilled Courgettes with Warm Yoghurt and Saffron Butter

Yotam Ottolenghi

by Yotam Ottolenghi, The Ottolenghi Test Kitchen Team, Noor Murad from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love

This easy summer dish from The Ottolenghi Test Kitchen sees grilled courgettes served atop warm mint and garlic yoghurt, finished with a simple saffron butter.

From the book

Yotam Ottolenghi, Noor Murad


This recipe is inspired by kousa b’laban, a Levantine dish of stuffed baby marrow cooked in yoghurt. In this simplified version the yoghurt sauce and grilled courgettes are cooked separately, then served with a quick saffron butter to spoon on top.

There’s a bit of an art to cooking yoghurt without having it curdle; stabilisers such as cornflour and egg yolk tend to do the trick, as does cooking the yoghurt on a moderate heat, stirring continuously and gently warming through without boiling. The result: a silky-smooth and tangy sauce, great for these courgettes but also with other grilled veggies, fatty meats or even as a sauce to pasta.

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30g unsalted butter
¼ tsp saffron threads, roughly crushed
4 small pale green or regular courgettes, tops trimmed slightly and courgettes halved lengthways (600g)
2½ tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cornflour
300g Greek-style yoghurt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ tsp dried mint
¾ tsp coriander seeds, toasted and roughly crushed with a pestle and mortar
1½ tbsp picked mint leaves
½ lemon
salt and black


Preheat the oven to a high grill setting.

Put the butter and saffron into a small saucepan on a medium heat. When the butter has melted, set aside to infuse.

Place the courgettes on a parchment-lined baking tray and toss with 2 tablespoons of oil, ⅓ teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Arrange them cut side up and grill for 15–20 minutes, until nicely charred and softened.

Towards the last 10 minutes of grilling time, make the sauce. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornflour and 3 tablespoons of water until smooth, then add the yoghurt, garlic, dried mint, the remaining ½ tablespoon of oil and ½ teaspoon of salt. Whisk to combine, then transfer to a large, non-stick sauté pan on a medium heat. Cook, stirring continuously, for about 10 minutes, or until thickened slightly and warmed through. Do not let the sauce boil, or it will split.

Transfer the warm yoghurt sauce to a plate with a lip and top with the courgettes, grilled side up. Spoon over the saffron butter, then sprinkle with the coriander seeds and mint leaves. Squeeze over the lemon half and serve right away.

Make it your own:

– No saffron? Use a pinch of turmeric instead.

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From the book: Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love

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