Last week, Helen from Beyond Salmon — everything you need to know about fish, she knows — and her husband came over for dinner. The simple scenario of two couples sharing a meal could simply mean a common evening, nothing that will be matter for discussion. Such evening however turned into an interesting mix because of the following: while Helen and I obviously have the food connection — and much to talk about –, P. and J. have the technology connection: Linux, Java, Database, architecture, blah blah blah. Now, one thing that needs to be said is that both of P. and J. are lucky to have wives that understand and speak their jargon — I am myself a former technology worker, happily former indeed — but of course, the fact that both of them could freely talk about code with the same passion as Helen and I talk about food helped in giving a perfectly balanced evening for the four of us. No yawns to be heard of. Helen and I would totally forget that they were there at times, and so did they. No guilty feeling. We were all happy. It were as if there had been two distinct streams of intense conversation that would converge once in a while. We ate well, drank plenty, and talked, talked and talked about what we each liked. While Helen and I were discussing what restaurants they had gone to while in the Seattle/Vancouver area — since we head there ourselves, of course, I was eager to hear more — what she cooked while they were there or what she thought about the local markets, at some point the question of where to find round zucchinis came in the conversation. Just like that. Pouf ! I hate to acknowledge it but I can be pretty obsessive when it has to me-wanting-to-find-something. I search until I find an answer. P. calls this nagging but I keep telling him that I do not understand this word. Je ne comprends pas l’anglais !
Back to the zucchinis.
Helen: Ah, you are looking for round zucchinis? But I saw them on Thursday at the farmer’s market in Belmont.
Me: Where? Really? If only I had known! Cool!
No need to add more. I knew already what I was going to do the following week. I was already thinking about the long wait until Thursday.
So Thursday came and I made my way to the farmers’ market, hoping that they would still have some of those round zucchinis Helen had mentioned. Approaching the few stands around, I could barely contain my excitement and rushed my pace to get closer to have a look at every possible green vegetable, trying to locate my round zucchinis. It took me probably less than thirty seconds after I arrived at the market to find them. I tried to be casual about it, but pretty much bought every single round zucchini from the farmer where I found them. I was just TOO happy to finally be in their possession. In my hands.
Back home, I inspected quickly what I had handy and a recipe was born. It would be mostly vegetarian, with une farce (stuffing) made of red rice, herbs and vegetables.
Red Rice — le riz rouge
Have you heard about red rice before? And tasted it? If not, there is something for you to do. A pure jewel, just like black rice. I decided to use Buthanese Red Rice which I am reading was grown at 8,000 feet in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. Impossible de résister ! It is clearly impossible to resist its nutty taste and beautiful russet color. This red rice is a heirloom rice which is the perfect accompaniment to fish, meat and vegetables. As such, it worked perfectly in my zucchini stuffing. I added a touch of cumin and coriander and since I had plenty of fresh basil and tarragon in the garden, there they went as well. Sometimes recipes take time to be shaped and designed, sometimes they are fast to happen. “When there is a will, there is a way”. Quand on veut, on peut !
- 4 round green zucchinis
- 2 slices of prosciutto
- 3/4 cup red rice
- 1 Tbsp basil, chopped
- 1 Tbsp tarragon, chopped
- 1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 oz grated parmesan
- 1 carrot
- 3 orange tomatoes, skinned and cored.
- Chicken broth or water (1/2 inch in the oven dish)
- Cook your rice according to the instructions on the package.
- Preheat your oven at 350 F.
- Wash your zucchinis and slice the top.
- Remove the flesh inside and dice it roughly. Keep it on the side.
- Bring water to a boil in a pot and put the tomatoes in it for 30 s. Rinse them under cold water and peel them. Remove the seeds and dice roughly.
- Peel the carrot and cut it in julienne.
- Chop the onion and garlic.
- Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a thick-bottomed pot or a sautée pan. When hot, add the garlic and onion, and 1/2 tsp coriander powder and 1/2 tsp cumin powder. Stir and cook for 5 mns, until softer but not brown.
- Add the zucchini and stir. Cook for 3 mns or so before adding the carrot. Repeat and cook for 3 mns before adding the tomatoes. Simmer for 5 mns, without covering.
- Remove from the heat and add the diced prosciutto, parmesan and herbs. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the rice and mix together (you might not need all the rice, and you will have stuffing leftover, which is lovely on its own).
- Season the whole zucchinis with salt and pepper and stuff them with the preparation.
- Place in an oven dish with broth at the bottom, about half an inch. Add a splash of olive oil on the zucchinis. Cook for about 1 hour.
- 4 courgettes rondes
- 2 tranches de prosciutto
- 125 g de riz rouge
- 1 càs de basilic, haché
- 1 càs d’estragon, haché
- 1 càs de persil, haché
- 1 càc de cumin en poudre
- 1 càc de coriandre en poudre
- Huile d’olive
- Sel et poivre
- 1/2 oignon jaune
- 3 gousses d’ail
- 30 g de parmesan râpé
- 1 carotte
- 3 tomates orange tomatoes, pelées
- Bouillon de volaille ou eau (1 cm dans un plat allant au four)
- Cuisez le riz en suivant les instructions sur votre paquet.
- Préchauffez votre four à 180 C.
- Lavez vos courgettes et coupez un chapeau dans chacune.
- Retirez la chair des courgettes à l’aide d’une cuiller et hachez-la grossièrement. Gardez-la de côté.
- Ébouillantez vos tomates pendant 30s. Passez-les sous l’eau froide et pelez-les. Épepinnez-les et hachez-les grossièrement.
- Pelez la carotte et coupez-la en julienne.
- Emincez l’oignon finement.
- Faites chauffer 2 càs d’huile d’olive dans une cocotte à fond epais (ou une sauteuse). Une fois chaude, ajoutez l’oignon, l’ail, 1/2 càc de coriandre en poudre et 1/2 càc de cumin en poudre. Faites revenir sans dorer pendant 5 mns.
- Ajoutez la chair de courgette et mélangez. Cuisez pendant 3 mns avant d’ajouter la carotte. Mélangez et cuisez pendant 3 mns avant d’ajouter les tomates. Faites cuire à feu doux pendant 5 mns, sans couvrir.
- Retirez du feu et ajoutez les tranches de prosciutto coupées en petits dés, le parmesan et les herbes hachées. Assaisonnez avec du sel et du poivre.
- Ajoutez le riz et mélangez à nouveau (vous n’aurez peut-être pas besoin de tout le riz, et il vous restera aussi de la farce, délicieuse seule ).
- Salez et poivrez les courgettes et remplissez-les de farce.
- Placez les courgettes dans un plat allant au four. Versez le bouillon (1 cm) dans le plat, et arrosez les courgettes d’un filet d’huile d’olive. Cuisez au four pendant environ 1 heure.