Marrow tart with black olives and goats' cheese

Serves 4
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Indy Lifestyle Online

We tend to think of marrows as massive things. But for eating, they're best when they weigh in at under a kilo. Those biguns that competitive British gardeners grow for horticultural and village shows are probably only fit for the compost heap, not for cooking with. Like courgettes, even the smaller marrows can be quite bland, so they need a bit of perking up and after all that practising on courgettes the flavours of Provence are just right for the job.

We tend to think of marrows as massive things. But for eating, they're best when they weigh in at under a kilo. Those biguns that competitive British gardeners grow for horticultural and village shows are probably only fit for the compost heap, not for cooking with. Like courgettes, even the smaller marrows can be quite bland, so they need a bit of perking up and after all that practising on courgettes the flavours of Provence are just right for the job.

500g puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2 tbsp olive oil
250-300g marrow, halved, seeds scooped out and cut into rough 2cm dice with the skin on
2tsp tomato purée
6 ripe tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
A few sprigs of oregano or marjoram, roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
120g soft goats cheese

for the dressing

10-12 niçoise or any good-quality black olives, stoned and chopped
A few leaves of basil roughly chopped
2-3tbsp olive oil

Roll the puff pastry to 1/3cm thick, leave it to rest for 15 minutes then cut into 4 rectangles, each 14cm by 11cm. Prick them all over with a fork to prevent the pastry rising too much, then put them on a baking tray. From the rest of the pastry cut 1cm-wide strips as long as you can. Brush the edges of the rectangles with the beaten egg. Lay the strips along all four sides, and trim them to form a ridge all the way round. Mark these edges by pressing half-moons all over them with the blade of a knife or use a special pastry crimper. Then brush the edges with the egg. Leave to rest in the fridge for an hour.

While the pastry is resting make the filling. Lay the marrow on a tray and sprinkle with about a teaspoon of salt. Gently cook the onion and garlic in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes without colouring. Add the marrow and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato purée, tomatoes and marjoram, season with a little salt and pepper and cook on a medium heat for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally until the marrow is tender. The sauce should not be too wet. If it seems a little sloppy cook for another 2-3 minutes. Leave to cool a little.

Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/320°F/gas mark 3. Bake the pastry for 7 minutes and remove from the oven. Turn up the oven to 200°C/390°F/gas mark 6. Spoon the marrow mixture into the centre of the tarts and break the goats' cheese into small nuggets on top. Bake the tarts for 7-8 minutes and serve with the dressing spooned over the top.

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