Surprise Custard Marrows

I think this is a quite original, cold first course. Unfortunately, custard marrows are only in season between August and October and then only sold by good greengrocers and markets. They look like little pies with scalloped edges and are far superior in taste and texture to ordinary marrows, If you do find them you may like to know an interesting recipe for them. They vary a lot in size and although only the smallest kind are any good for this way of stuffing them with egg yolks, you could make another stuffing like ratatouille for the larger kind, which would each feed 2–3 people. Plan to have meringues or an Angel cake for pudding.

Ingredients

  • one small custard marrow per person
  • one egg yolk per person
  • peeled tomatoes – about one per person
  • chopped fresh basil if possible – or thyme, oregano or marjoram
  • a little oil and vinegar dressing
  • salt, black pepper

Method

Cut the stalks off the marrows and scoop out the insides – pips etc, with a teaspoon. Put them in a saucepan of boiling, salted water. Cover pan and simmer for 20 minutes. Take out carefully and drain. Heat oven to Gas 6 (400°F/200°C). Salt and pepper the insides of the marrows. Separate the egg yolks and put one inside each marrow. Slightly mush up the tomatoes and mix with herbs, salt and pepper. Pile mixture on top of the egg yolks. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Put marrows on baking tray in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes. Take out and cool in fridge. When cold and just before serving, spoon a little oil and vinegar dressing over them. They are really delicious and the surprise is when the egg yolk bursts out as people take their second mouthful.

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