Stuffed marrow goes vego
Being given the fourth marrow in a short space of time, they were not only beginning to transform from blessing to curse, but I was getting a bit sick of eating them stir fried (which I do not recommend for the tastebuds, only the er…lazybuds). Stuffed marrows or stuffed courgettes/zucchinis do not really excite me, but these were a pleasant surprise. Many recipes call for mince, so I thought I’d add a vegetarian one to the recipe box that is the Internet.
The umami-laden topping ended up complementing the sweet and soft base really well, which was still pretty yummy even though I overcooked it a little. It was incredibly juicy though so I might stick to using all day-old bread (you could probably even use cracker crumbs), and skip the mushrooms, which release a lot of water even though I cooked off a lot of liquid prior to adding them to the stuffing.
Here I’m just giving a base recipe, which you can eat as is or add anything to as long as it doesn’t emit too much more water. Or you can eat as is – I actually think the version I made with mushroom would have been nicer without. The wonderful thing is that this uses up two things most people don’t want (at least not passionately) – marrow and super dry crusty bread that’s past the cut-it-and-pop-it-in-your-mouth stage.
Stuffed marrow – a vegetarian’s base guide
Look at your marrow, and conjure up about 1/2 the marrow’s volume worth of very dry breadcrumbs (preferably from a crusty loaf that’s been neglected), placing them in a bowl.* Halve the marrow lengthways, scoop out the fleshy bits leaving a shell about 1cm thick (just under 1/2″), placing this on a baking tray. Try to scoop out large chunks, as you then grate this over your breadcrumbs. Sprinkle salt and pepper over with some smoked paprika or whatever herbs you have on hand, along with a sprinkling of finely grated parmesan or very strong, hard cheese, and mix it all up. Let sit while you preheat the oven to 200C (400F).
Meanwhile, slice some brie (mine was smoked, so I omitted the smoked paprika) or taleggio. By now the grated marrow bits will have emitted quite a bit of juice, so the mixture should stick together a bit more, like pattie mixture almost. I added a little bit of cream cheese to further bind it all together at this point, or creamy feta would work, just take it easy on the salt earlier on. Stuff into the cavity of the marrow, lay cheese over top, and pop into your oven on the top rack for about 10-15 minutes before checking for doneness – a knife should slide in to the shell with a bit of resistance still, and the flesh should still be opaque. Check at the 10 minute mark though if your marrow is on the small side. Remember it’ll continue to cook as it sits. Let the marrow cool for a few minutes before slicing into it and serving.
This would be nicely balanced by some refreshing crispy radish slices or just-picked lettuce leaves drizzled with lemon juice. Happy to hear your suggestions on what else the stuffing could work with…I have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of the marrows yet!
*Some of my bread was so hard and dry by then I had to finely dice it with a knife, as it probably would have killed the food processor. This sort of bread makes the best texture filling. Not all climates will be kind to this sort of bread and bless it with a lack of mould though :P
The “Asian” eggplants from the Christchurch Farmer’s Market. They are melt-in-your mouth tender, with not a trace of bitterness. I like to braise them but you can just sautee them as well if you don’t want them too silky soft. A bit pricier than the regular kind at $1 per skinny eggplant, but so worth it!