No products in the basket.

Recipe Collection

Barbecued Courgettes & Tomatoes with Herby Polenta

Andrew Montgomery — Outside, 2022

Cooking summer vegetables, such as courgettes and tomatoes, over a hot fire feels so right. There’s a magic that happens – a magic that comes up off the grill, into the air and swirls like smoke around you. When you sit down and eat the vegetables, you’ll be able to taste the magic, too.

It would be so good if we all cooked more seasonal vegetables over the fire and a bit less meat. So, I’ve been coming up with as many delicious recipes as I can. This is one of my favourites and outclasses any burger any day. Make sure you have some nice hot, glowing embers before you start cooking.

Serves: 4

Season: Summer

Photography: Andrew Montgomery

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20-30 minutes


For the vegetables
2–3 courgettes, cut into thick slices at an angle
400g ripe tomatoes, whole, or halved if large
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1 garlic clove, grated or crushed to a paste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
a small handful of basil, leaves picked and chopped

a small handful of mint, leaves picked and chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the polenta
about 800ml vegetable stock
150g fine polenta
a handful of your favourite grated aged cheese
a large knob of butter
a small handful of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped


  1. Place the courgettes and tomatoes in a bowl. Add 1½ tablespoons of the extra-virgin olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Lay the courgettes down on the grill and arrange the tomatoes alongside them. (You may have to do this in batches.) Cook the courgettes until they begin to blister and caramelize on the first side, then turn them and cook them on the second side. Do the same with the tomatoes – although, if they’re really juicy, they might not colour up in quite the same way.

  2. When the vegetables are cooked, lift them off the grill and place them back in the bowl. Add the capers, garlic, red wine vinegar, remaining extra virgin olive oil and some more salt and pepper. Add both herbs. Gently turn everything together and keep it warm by the fire while you make the polenta.

  3. Bring the stock up to a gentle simmer in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Pour in the polenta in a slow, steady stream, stirring well as you go. It will thicken quite quickly, but will need gentle simmering for 6–8 minutes, until the grain is cooked properly. If it becomes too thick, add a dash more stock or water. Stir in the cheese, butter and parsley, and season. Divide the polenta between four plates, spoon over the warm courgettes and tomatoes, and serve.

Read more: Outside

A beautiful book dedicated to cooking outdoors, whatever the weather, Gill Meller’s book Outside is the perfect companion for food cooked over fire, in tune with nature and the seasons. Outside: Recipes for a Wilder Way of Eating by Gill Meller (Quadrille, £30) Photography: Andrew Montgomery

— about the author

Gill Meller is a chef, award-winning food writer, food stylist and cookery teacher with a seasonal cooking philosophy. You may know him from his close work with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and River Cottage, and his appearances on the celebrated Channel 4 series. His recipes make the most of the season’s best produce, working with nature to create flavourful, beautiful food.


Leave a Reply

Please rate*

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

— the pantry post.

sign up to our newsletter to recieve the latest food news, recipes & ideas for dining in and out.