The humble courgette. A zucchini. Or has yours just grown a little large- is it now an unofficial marrow? An oft forgotten fresh ingredient, until its spiralised revival, taking the place of spaghetti or tagliatelle depending on your preference. At Guardswell, we adore the courgette- whether they are sunshine yellow, green striped- or perhaps even the variety “zephyr”- which looks like it has been dunked in lemon coloured paint, or green (depending on which way up you look at it).
There are a few differences between the true courgette (left to grow too big) and a marrow. The courgette plant is bush like, with the skin of the fruit (it is a fruit, not a vegetable- it has internal seeds) being finer and a little easier to consume. The marrow plant, on the other hand, tends to be leggy and tendrilous- its fruit has tough, almost bristly, skin that gives it its hard-mannered reputation.
So- what do we do with these cucurbits? Let’s start with the courgette. Equally delicious cooked as raw in our eyes- but find yourself something tender and not quite at that “false marrow” stage. To make the most delicious, simple salad- and perhaps our favourite of all time- take a peeler and shave your courgette into ribbons. Throw into a bowl and slosh a good glug of olive oil, and a decent squeeze of a lemon (until you have each ribbon covered in a fine layer or liquid). Leave to macerate for approximately 30minutes, then, using your peeler again- shave ribbon like slices of parmesan cheese onto the courgette. Add rough sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste. Enjoy with a glass of really good, cold, white wine.
You may think of a marrow as solely a hollowed-out boat to fill with savoury mince, a la 1985. And to be completely honest- I am not going to knock that use! However, why not spice that recipe up a little and substitute your usual beef mince for lamb, cook it down with garlic and onion, throw some ground cumin and cumin seeds, ground cinnamon and ground turmeric- you will not look at a marrow the same again- I promise!
(This was originally published in the Courier Newspaper)