Enhance your culinary skills with versatile baby marrows as we explore different methods for cooking baby marrows to see how each affects the humble squash’s unique flavour.
Baby marrow, also known as courgette or zucchini, is a versatile summer squash that often goes underappreciated. From enjoying it raw or marinated to using it as zoodles or even pizza, baby marrow can play many roles in your culinary repertoire.
Not only is baby marrow highly adaptable, but it’s also a nutritional powerhouse. It has a high water content, and is low in calories and rich in dietary fibre. Moreover, it offers a healthy dose of potassium and contains small amounts of vitamin C, B vitamins, folic acid, calcium and beta-carotene.
While technically a mature fruit, baby marrows are predominantly treated as vegetables in the culinary world, typically prepared in savoury dishes or served as a side. Yet, their potential doesn’t stop there! You can freeze them and blend them into nutrient-packed vegetable smoothies, or grate them to enhance the texture and nutrition of dishes like flapjacks, brownies, cakes or sweet muffins.
MUST-TRY RECIPE: Healthy zucchini brownies with avocado frosting
But what about the subtle-flavoured baby marrow when it’s not a part of a dish or a tasty dressing? Let’s explore how different cooking methods affect its overall flavour. We’ve examined five cooking techniques to see how each influences the versatile squash.
Cooking method comparison:
Boiling baby marrows is a fast and effective cooking method that allows their subtle, earthy flavour to shine. However, be cautious not to overcook them, as they can turn into a dull, mushy mess if left in boiling water for too long.
Steaming baby marrows produces a similar flavour to boiling but results in firmer textures. Both steaming and boiling were the two methods that really allowed the subtle earthy baby marrow flavour to the shine the most. But, as with boiling, you really want to avoid overcooking to prevent them from becoming mushy.
Roasting baby marrows simply in olive oil and salt was by the far most effective method for cooking them, especially if you aren’t a fan of the subtle flavour or just plan on serving them as is, without fancy sauce or additional seasoning.
Roasting them allowed them to caramelise beautifully and this cooking method really brought out the marrow’s wholesome sweetness. But keep in mind that roasting causes some shrinkage, so prepare more than you think you’ll need.
Air-frying baby marrows with a bit of olive oil and salt at high heat for a short time brings out a pleasant nuttiness while still allowing the subtle marrow flavour to come through. Similar to roasting, there’s shrinkage, but the result is a soft texture with some delectable crispy bits from the air-fryer!
5. Grilled or braaied
Grilling or braaing baby marrows at high heat, allowing them to char a bit, really emphasises their savoury, earthy qualities. The smokiness becomes more dominant than their subtle flavour, adding a delightful depth of flavour to this humble squash.
When grilling chunky cut marrows, they also maintain a crisp texture, producing baby marrows with a satisfying smoky bite to them.
MUST-TRY RECIPE: Baby hake with baby marrow and sweetcorn fritter