Marrow with bacon, onions and goat's cheese

Serves 4

Marrows are such an under-used vegetable. Perhaps, like their pumpkin cousins, they come across as a bit daunting. But they can be turned into interesting dishes very successfully without being watery or tasteless; you just have to be a bit careful about the preparation.

1 medium-sized marrow
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
4 rashers of rindless, streaky bacon, finely chopped
2tsp fresh thyme leaves
3-4tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
150-160g soft goat's cheese f

Cut the marrow into four lengthways, leaving the skin on, and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Slice the marrow into half-inch pieces and lay them on a tray. Scatter liberally with salt and leave for 30 minutes, then drain off any liquid and dry the slices on a clean tea towel.

Meanwhile, heat a couple of tablespoons of the olive oil in a saucepan and gently cook the onion, garlic and bacon for 4-5 minutes, stirring every so often until soft.

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan (you may need to do this in two batches), season the marrow with pepper and sauté the pieces on a high heat for 5-6 minutes, or until they are nicely coloured and tender. If they are colouring too much, turn the heat down. Once the marrow is tender, mix in the onion mixture and re-season if necessary. Then transfer to an ovenproof dish. Break up the goat's cheese, scatter it on top and place under a pre-heated grill for a few minutes until the cheese melts.

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