Mamma Mia! When Manu asked me to guest post, my adoration for Italy kicked in again. I adore all the tempting treats that Manu serves us on her Menu and especially all of the beautifully authentic Italian delicacies, complete with her famous step-by-step immaculate instructions and gorgeous photos. For those that follow le blog, you’ll remember that Manu shared her Genovese Ericine Sicilian speciality for the egg yolk recipe series.
What could I serve on her guest menu that would be authentic from France? To help me pick something, Manu and I have a number of things in common: we both followed our hearts to another land with another language and settled into another culture. I came to France from Scotland and although it’s not far compared with Manu, the culture difference was pretty mind-boggling. I didn’t just marry a Frenchman; I married a Corsican.
The island of Corsica has been in and out of so many hands in history but although it’s closer to Italy than France, geographically – it is politically part of France. Their culture is a real mix of Italian and French. I could go on but basically the Corsicans and the Scots have plenty in common when it comes to their feelings of independence!
One of Corsica’s popular dishes is stuffed courgettes. They come alive with the taste of the Corsican speciality cheese, Brocciu, which is made from unpasturised goat’s or ewe’s milk. Either way, it’s fresh and fabulously creamy – a bit like Italian ricotta but it’s not. It’s just brocciu (pronounced ‘broach‘.)
This is so simple and a favourite when we visit my husband’s family in their remote mountain village. I have a few family recipes for this classic but each one is different: this one is my own adaptation since the best ones I have tasted on the island use mint rather than parsley or basil.
Corsican Stuffed Courgettes (Zucchini) with Mint
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
8 glossy courgettes (zucchini)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
2 slices mixed grain bread (or plain if you prefer), mixed to breadcrumbs
250g fresh Corsican Brocciu cheese or tub of ricotta
20g parmesan, finely grated
1 egg yolk
2 tbsps pine nuts
1. Drop the courgettes into a large pot of salted boiling water and leave them to soften for 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool while preparing the other ingredients. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
2. Trim off the ends then halve each of them lengthwise. Using a small spoon (I love to use a grapefruit spoon as it has more control), hollow out the flesh leaving a shell about 1cm thick. Chop up the removed courgette pulp.
3. Fry the chopped courgette pulp in some olive oil over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly or until the courgettes are no longer giving off any more liquid. Add the garlic and mint and continue to stir over the heat for another couple of minutes. Set aside to cool and season with salt and pepper.
4. Using a blender, blitz the bread into crumbs. In a bowl, mix the cheeses, egg yolk, pine nuts, breadcrumbs and add the cooked courgette mixture.
5. Dry the courgette shells with kitchen paper then stuff each one generously. Place them in a single layer on an oiled baking dish.
6. Bake for about 40 minutes, until browned.
Serve hot on their own and a chilled glass of white Patrimonio Corsican wine just sets the mood. I love Vermentino – do you?
This post was published as part of my guest post over at Manu’s Menu and so comments were closed in favour of posting on Manu’s site. One year on, comments are now open and so please don’t be shy – show me that somebody’s reading this and even better, try out the recipe!