The priapic appearance of courgettes and cucumbers has been known to engender lewd and goatish thoughts but. if one intends to eat the vegetable, the promise of satisfaction is illusory and disappointment the climax. Size is indeed everything, and in the case of courgettes even more so. The smaller the better. At this point the audience booed and started to leave the theatre…this was not the show that the hoardings had suggested. For those still in their seats, there is a happy ending.
In the beginning there was a gift of courgettes. The gifter had started to prepare them but, as she was going on holiday that day, realised that they would go to waste unless they were entrusted to someone who liked to cook…so our friend gave them to me. From the look of the hefty chunks, these courgettes had been of dildoic proportion and I feared the worst. I’ve recently suffered some disappointments at the hands of courgettes particularly if I’ve tried to do more than is necessary to them. Courgettes are wonderful when sliced, thrown into a pan of bubbling hot butter, allowed to take on a golden colour and eaten hot and immediately. They don’t like too much foreplay in my experience…a simple “yes” is sufficient for the willing courgette. As it happened, my chunky pieces of vegetable didn’t have the look of “yes” about them, so I respected their wishes and took out my mandolin. A quick serenade and they were in ribbons. No sooner had this happy state been achieved than my mind turned to the previously mentioned goatish thoughts. Good goat cheese, courgette ribbons, and a golden pastry crust are a particularly well suited ménage à trois and with the addition of cream and eggs they become like a quiet evening at home with Jack Nicholson in the good old days. But, for all this promised joy, it is important to find a worthy goat cheese. We are lucky to have the simplest, freshest goat cheeses readily available. I would advise against any sort of “log” in this recipe, unless it is of the pedigree of St.Maure or of that ilk. A crisp pre baked short pastry shell is the sine qua non of this recipe, although I use the word recipe in the loosest way as I cobbled this together and have no clear memories of quantities. For someone like myself, who always cooks to recipes, this is unusual. In truth I had googled several recipes and put three of them together. From one I took the advice of brushing a coating of beaten egg on the pre baked, pastry shell and returning it to the oven to gain the shimmering gloss of a freshly varnished wooden boat. Another recipe suggested the ribbons of courgette and the advice of not browning them in butter before they went into the tart. The third recipe suggested the soft goat cheese.
The coming together was very satisfying.