Thursday, July 24, 2008
I wrestled a bit with what to write today. All week I have known that I wanted to share this recipe with you because it is seasonal and it is just so good and, I mean really, how cute are those zucchinis?
But last night I went to a memorial service for my lovely friend Sandy and I started to feel like maybe it was a little, I don't know, frivolous to be talking about stuffing squashes when a beautiful soul like hers is being mourned by many. Then I realized that if anyone would want me to write about something delicious, it would be her. Sandy loved good food and she, as my boss in the promotion department of a radio station many years ago, made me a better writer. Furthermore, the recipe comes from The Paris Cookbook and I know that Sandy loved Paris probably more than any other city. So it is with her in mind that I share this deliciousness.
I bought this wonderful cookbook in the Waterloo train station in London, waiting to get on the train to Paris. When I went to find this recipe the other day, I was momentarily confused because there was no "zucchini" recipes in the index. I then remembered that this particular edition is British so the recipe was listed under "courgettes" which is the French word for zucchini and the term that the Brits use as well. The Paris Cookbook's author is Patricia Wells and I truly love her recipes. At first glance, many of them don't look like much because they have few ingredients and simple instructions. Everything I have made from the three of hers that I own has made me re-think my attraction to complicated recipes with crazy ingredients and time-consuming steps. In her hands, simpler really is better.
This recipe is a little more involved than some of her others, but it is by no means complicated. It looks beautiful and the flavor is so complex with mint, curry, and goat cheese. I was able to find these amazing round zucchinis at the farmer's market but she says you can use regular oblong ones as well. I served these with a Corn Chowder and an Arugula Salad with Watermelon and Walnuts.
Zucchini Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Mint
Adapted from The Paris Cookbook
8 small round zucchini or 8 small oblong ones
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1-2 tsp. curry powder
9oz. fresh goat cheese
Several tablespoons cream or milk
4 tbsp. fresh mint, cut into thin ribbons
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cut the top off the zucchinis. With a small spoon, carve out the the pulp of the zucchinis. Chop the pulp. Reserve both the pulp and the zucchinis and set aside.
3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the zucchinis and the tops and blanch until softened but still firm, about 5 minutes. Transfer the to a bowl of iced water to refresh, firm and help the vegetables keep their color.
4. In a small, heavy-duty frying pan, combine the onions, oil, and a pinch of salt. Sweat, covered, over low heat until soft and cooked through, about 5 minutes. The onions should not brown. Add the zucchini pulp and curry powder to taste and cook until softened, about 5 minutes more. Set aside. You may need to drain if there is a lot of liquid.
5. Mix the goat cheese with the cream in a bowl and stir until smooth. Add cream as needed to achieve a thick liquid consistency.
6. Place the zucchinis side by side in a large gratin dish. Spoon the curry mixture into the zucchinis, filling about 2/3 full. Sprinkle with half the mint. Spoon the cheese mixture over the curry mixture, filling all the way to the top. Sprinkle with the rest of the mint. Place the top on the zucchini.
7. Place in the center of the oven and bake until the zucchini are soft, about 15 minutes. (If you use oblong zucchini, I would cover with foil so they don't dry out.) Serve warm or at room temperature.