Yes, courgettes! I’ve chosen to call this dish by its original name, and not to use the Italian word “zucchini”, since in Britain we have always used the French word “courgette” (due to our geographical proximity to France). And this dish did, after all, originate in my mother’s kitchen in the heart of England. The key to its success is to peel and deseed the tomatoes… not such a daunting task as it sounds, really! But this step cannot be skipped.
I have on occasions tried adapting the recipe, but always come back to the original, which is, quite simply, perfect.
- 2 large courgettes
- 50g grated cheese (cheddar is best, but any tasty cheese would work)
- 15g fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- 2 large tomatoes, skinned and deseeded (Cut a cross in the base of the tomato and place in boiling water for a couple of minutes – the skin will then peel off easily, but mind you don’t burn your fingers!)
- salt and black pepper
- a little extra cheese for topping
Cut the courgettes in half and then halve lengthways to remove the seeds with a teaspoon (and discard them). Cook in boiling salted water for about 8-10 minutes, till barely tender. Drain and place in an ovenproof dish. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Mix breadcrumbs, cheese, chives and chopped tomatoes. Season and mix in egg yolk to bind all ingredients. Pile into courgettes. Cover dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle a little cheese on top and bake or grill to finish off.
Tastes fantastic with new potatoes, or salad and bread.