How to make the most of a marrow

A glut of courgettes can be left to grow into marrows, then tossed on the barbecue or under the grill, and the resulting moist, smoky flesh doused in lemon and butter

During peak season, one healthy courgette plant will produce more fruit than even the most avid lover could consume. Turn your back for a moment, and in a flash marrows appear, tripling or quadrupling in size in a matter of days, and providing masses of food for very little effort or cost. Grate them into cake instead of carrots, pickle them, make chutney, stuff them or barbecue them as in today’s opulent recipe.

Marrow’s slightly stringy flesh takes well to the baba ganoush-style treatment of chargrilling the outside until it turns unrecognisably black and the insides go gooey. Cut it open, scoop out the smoky, moist flesh and serve as it is, dressed with lemon juice, olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt, or fancy it up to the max and douse in a herby beurre noisette.

Burnt marrow, burnt butter
This dish is inspired by the classic French dish of grilled or baked fish served with black butter. The soft, charred marrow absorbs the beurre noisette, taking it to a whole new level, while the addition of dill and mint only adds to the whole equation; black onion or nigella seeds to finish are also great on top, bringing the best allium notes without the slightly stringent aftertaste. The dish also makes a great vegetarian centrepiece: rich, elaborate and incredibly tasty.

1 marrow (about 1kg)
150g butter
Zest of 1 lemon
1 small bunch dill, roughly chopped
1 banana shallot, peeled and diced
2 tbsp capers

To serve (optional)
Nigella or black onion seeds
Labneh or thick yoghurt
Flatbread or whole grains

Char the marrow in the moderate heat of a barbecue’s embers, turning it occasionally, until blackened all over and very tender – this should take 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of the marrow and the temperature of the coals. Check the marrow is cooked through by piercing it with a knife – it should go in easily. If you don’t have a barbecue, char the marrow over an open gas flame or in a griddle pan (chop the marrow into sections, first if need be), then finish off in a 200C (180C fan)/290F/gas 6 oven for about 30 minutes or until very tender.

Cut the marrow in half lengthways and put on a warmed platter; scoop out the seeds if they’re on the tough side, otherwise leave them intact.

Heat the butter in a pan until it begins to foam, then add the lemon zest, chopped dill, shallot and capers. Pour this all over the marrow and serve with a sprinkling of nigella seeds, a drizzle of labneh or thick yoghurt, flatbread or whole grains.