It is the season of large kamo kamo and marrows. This is my first season growing kamo kamo and will certainly not be the last. This heritage squash has so much edible potential. Harvest the small fruit and flowers to saute like zucchini, or grate to make into fritters with feta and mint.
Later in the season when they are marrow-sized and the skin toughens, kamo kamo is best roasted. The flesh, once cooked, becomes buttery and subtly sweet, with more nuance of flavour than its milder cousin, the marrow. The cooked flesh can be scooped from the tough outer skin and mashed with a knob of butter. Or make a flavoursome stuffing as I share below.
And what fun they are to grow. While other squash quietly meanders along the ground, much to my delight the kamo kamo is growing up the lemon tree and over the bean frame. I am learning to embrace a wild and plentiful garden, over the more orderly rows of my early gardening days.
Lentils add extra protein to this vegetable-packed meal neatly complemented with bold flavours from preserved lemon and feta.
1 large kamo kamo or marrow, about 1.5kg
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red pepper (capsicum), diced
1 zucchini, diced
2 teaspoons oregano
Pinch of chilli flakes
2 cups cooked brown lentils – see below
1/2 preserved lemon rind, finely chopped
150g feta, crumbled
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Prepare the kamo kamo or marrow by cutting lengthways, and scoop out and compost the seeds (kamo kamo). Season the cut side generously with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Arrange cut side down in a roasting dish, and bake for about 30 minutes until the flesh is tender when pierced with a knife.
- Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan over a moderate heat. Add the onion and cook for five minutes. Add the garlic, pepper, zucchini, oregano, and chilli, and cook for 10 minutes until soft and fragrant. Drain the cooked lentils (canned can be used), and add to the vegetables, along with the preserved lemon and 100g feta. Cook for a further five minutes and check seasoning.
- Remove the kamo kamo or marrow from the oven, flip the pieces so cut side is up. If using marrow, at this stage scoop out some of the cooked flesh leaving a 2cm edge. Chop the flesh and stir into the lentils mixture. Scoop the filling into the kamo kamo or marrow cavity, scatter with the remaining feta and drizzle with olive oil. Return to the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
- Serve immediately accompanied by a simple salad of avocado, cherry tomatoes and basil.
Perfectly cooked lentils
Lentils are easy to cook when armed with a few tricks to make them easier to digest and taste great. I prepare a large pot of two to three cups dried lentils at a time. Once cooked, I freeze* into one-to-two cup portions to thaw as needed to add to meals. I use this method for brown, green puy and beluga lentils.
To prepare: Soak the lentils overnight or for at least eight hours. Drain and rinse well in a sieve. Place in a large saucepan and cover with twice the water. Add a bay leaf, slice of tomato, or pinch of cumin to subtly flavour the lentils and soften the skins during cooking. Bring to a gentle boil, then remove the lid and simmer for 15-20 minutes until tender.
Remove from the heat and stir through a ½ teaspoon salt per cup of dried lentils used. Leave to cool as the salt gently infuses the lentils. *Freeze lentils with cooking water or they will dry out.
*Recipe first featured 30th January 2019 on Stuff.co.nz.