Mar­rows large, mar­rows small, mar­rows like a can­non ball

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE - Pa­trick Skin­ner

Long ago and far away, newly mar­ried, on a glo­ri­ous sum­mer Sun­day day, af­ter at­tend­ing a con­fer­ence in the north of Eng­land my wife and I drove south, home­wards. We had booked lunch in the coun­try­side near Cam­bridge at a then fa­mous small restau­rant run by a bril­liant, but iras­ci­ble French­man.

Af­ter a sim­ple but truly mem­o­rable meal we paid up and de­parted. The

An­dré Amara, was at the gar­den gate. He kissed Mary and gave her a beau­ti­ful white rose. He shook my hand and from be­hind his back pro­duced a small mar­row, which he gave me with a sly wink. When­ever I see one now, I think of that mo­ment, and I also wish such de­li­cious and sim­ple food was to be had to­day, and cooked and served by such a man. (

His menu, part of which I re­pro­duce here, was as ec­cen­tric as the man, with its head­ing in sev­eral lan­guages:

Con­fus­ingly, th­ese use­ful lit­tle veg­eta­bles come with sev­eral names: they used to be called “Baby Mar­rows” and the English boiled them and served them rather limp with a white sauce. When food be­came in­ter­na­tional the smart glossy mag­a­zines called them Zucchini if they were Amer­i­can-in­flu­enced or Cour­gettes if they leaned to­wards the con­ti­nent. The Greeks, of course, have their own word for it:

This is un­pro­nounce­able by any­one English, so gen­er­ally we cling to the French word. The Greek for Cour­gette Frit­ters, my recipe for this week is even more dif­fi­cult.

Th­ese are called and they are a tasty ad­di­tion to any meze ta­ble. Try them as a veg­e­tar­ian al­ter­na­tive to meat­balls or top them with a fresh tzatziki sauce and you just may de­cide to make them the main meal. 6 dark green cour­gettes (about 15 cms / 6 inches long) 1 small­ish onion, peeled and finely chopped 1 tbsp olive oil 200 g of minced lamb or beef 3 slices of Snack brand back ba­con, finely chopped 1 tsp tomato purée 1 clove gar­lic, peeled and very finely chopped 1 tbsp wa­ter 1 tbsp chopped pars­ley Salt and pep­per to sea­son 1 medium sized tomato, skin re­moved and chopped 1 very small tub of strained Yo­gurt 3 – 4 sprigs of min, chopped 50 g of finely grated hard cheese (Cyprus will do nicely) 1. Heat your oven to 200C / 400F. 2. Cut off cour­gettes. 3. Blanch the boil­ing wa­ter min­utes. 4. Re­move from pan, cool a lit­tle, then cut them in half length-ways. 5. With a spoon, scoop out the seeds to leave a nice chan­nel run­ning along the halved cour­gettes. 6. In a non-stick fry­ing pan, fry the onion un­til soft and get­ting a lit­tle golden at the edges. 7. Tip the minced meat, ba­con and gar­lic in and stir fry for a minute or so. 8. Now put in the tomato purée, wa­ter and sugar. Stir. 9. Stir-fry for 12 – 15 min­utes un­til meat is cooked through, then add the yo­gurt, chopped tomato and mint. Sea­son to taste, stir well and re­move pan from stove. 11. Spoon the mix­ture into the halved sprin­kle over the grated cheese. 10. Put in the cen­tre of the hot oven and bake un­til the cheese is bub­bling and be­gin­ning to brown.

the

ends

of cour­gettes for 2 –

cour­gettes

the in 3

and

Round cour­gettes look very good when brought to the ta­ble or in­di­vid­u­ally on a plate. You treat them the same as straight ones (ex­cept you cut the top off like a lid and scoop out the in­side). Here, they have been stuffed with a mix of meat, onions, gar­lic, herbs and a few bread crumbs. Lids on, they are put in an oven dish with wa­ter half way up the cour­gettes and cooked at a medium tem­per­a­ture for about an hour, or un­til the meat is cooked. Salt and pep­per to taste Olive oil for fry­ing 1. Us­ing a coarse grater, shred the cour­gettes and place in a colan­der. 2. Sprin­kle with salt and al­low the cour­gettes to sweat for 15 min­utes. Us­ing your hands, squeeze out the ex­cess liq­uid from the cour­gettes to make it as dry as pos­si­ble. (Like you are mak­ing cour­gette snow­balls.) 3. In a medium sized mix­ing bowl put the cour­gettes, beaten eggs, crum­bled feta, minced herbs, all pur­pose flour, and sel­f­ris­ing flour. 4. Sea­son the mix­ture with salt and freshly ground black pep­per. Mix well. You don’t want to over mix be­cause the zucchini will get keep re­leas­ing more wa­ter. 5. Place some all-pur­pose flour in a shal­low plate or bak­ing pan. This will be for rolling the cro­quettes lightly in flour be­fore fry­ing them. 6. Us­ing medium high heat, heat the olive oil in a large skil­let or fry­ing pan. 7. Us­ing a small scoop or a large soup spoon, take a wal­nut­sized por­tion of the mix­ture in your hands and roll it like a meat­ball. Dredge lightly in flour. Shake off the ex­cess flour be­fore fry­ing. The mix­ture will be wet and sticky. 8. Fry the cro­quettes in the olive oil un­til they are a golden brown colour turn­ing once. You may want to flat­ten them a lit­tle in the pan for more even cooking.

Drain on pa­per tow­els or on a cool­ing rack placed in a half sheet pan. There are sev­eral ways to serve: with dol­lops of fresh yo­gurt; with a tomato salsa; or with a bowl of

In this lovely dish a cooked meat “stuffing” has been wrapped with very thin slices of cour­gette (length­ways) which have been blanched for a minute or so and oven baked for a few min­utes. El­e­gant and tasty ac­com­pa­nied by a rice pi­laff with sliv­ers of al­monds.

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