The Much Maligned Marrow
If the humble marrow had the money you’d assume they’d hire a lawyer and take their little brother with the fancy continental name, the courgette, to court for libel and slander.
The case for the prosecution would hinge on the fact that they’re the same thing. The marrow has been left in the ground to mature a bit longer. That’s it. In the past, leaving the courgettes at the end of season to mature into marrows allowed the skins to harden. This means, similar to squash, the flesh is protected and therefore if stored correctly can sit quite happily for a month or two (A slatted shelf in a cool, dry area if available, or even strung up in a net or old tights). This shelf life all important in times less flush with refrigeration.
In addition, the value for money is incredible. The flashy little brother costing 4x the amount per kilo. This means more in your boxes, and more nutritional meals for less. A win, win.
Now, the case for the courgette would be ease of use. Pull out the fridge, chop and roast, throw in a stir fry or even grate into a salad. Marrows need peeling and the seeds need scooping out before you start.
This effort though is rewarded immediately. Once the seeds have been scooped out you’re confronted with a shell of possibility.
Another wonderful idea that I have seen on my travels, I forget the source, is to elevate your Sunday lunch. This works particularly well if you’re having beef. Add to the meat tray half an hour before it is due out. Baste at regular intervals. Allow the marrow to soften, and take on some meat juices. Great stuff.
A little side dish to any late summer dishes is the following from Nigel Slater. We had it this week, fresh, vibrant and a great use of all that marrow!
Marrow with peas and basil
Serves 2-4 as an accompaniment
a small marrow
100ml olive oil
250g podded or frozen peas
a handful of basil leaves
the juice of a lemon
Peel the skin from the marrow - a pleasing enough task with a vegetable peeler - then halve it, pull out the fluffy core and its seeds and cut the flesh into finger-thick slices.
Warm the olive oil in a casserole to which you have a lid, then add the peeled marrow. After 5 minutes of cooking over a moderate heat, pour in 100ml water, the peas and a little salt and cover with a lid. Let the vegetables bubble gently over a lowish heat till the peas are bright and softening and the marrow is well and truly tender.
Add the basil, the butter, some black pepper and a good squeeze of lemon juice.
A few ideas for you then, when the next marrow arrives at your doorstep. The sheer size of the thing is intimidating at first, but we at Kent Veg Box HQ have a soft spot for the plucky underdog. Flashy? No, but you’ll learn to love the much maligned marrow.