Aveyron: courgettes stuffed with garlic and onion, and fig leaf

Alix and Antonin tell us this Sunday “a beautiful story at the bottom of the garden” and present us with a simple and succulent recipe for baked courgettes. Excellent alibi to produce well eat well

“Oblivion saves memory”, writes in Belle Lurette Jacques Perret – great traveler, journalist and novelist, from the beginning of the last century, among a thousand other lives of a thousand fires.
In the Jardins de Yüsra -possibly the prettiest stall on the Place du Bourg on market days, cleverly decorated in the colors of the world-, Charlotte & Mathieu, peasant gardeners-producers from Bas-Ségala, the memory runs through the greenhouses , barns, furrows. Even in the haze of pale mornings, when it hangs in tatters on the branches of rickety silhouettes at the end of the plot, it sells the spirit of visitors who have already left.
Not far from Villefranche-de-Rouergue and Rieupeyroux, on the edge of the Tarn: Fournaguet, like an island, in the old town of Saint-Salvadou. Bathed on all sides, by the Aveyron, the Petite Serène, the Lézert, the Cassan, Ginestel, Souillens, Marmont, Pouzoulet, Verlanson and Caral streams – where you can still find, who knows how to look for them, some freshwater pearl mussels , in the eddies of the otters accustomed to the region.
On the sign, at the curve of the path along the farm: “Diversified fruits and vegetables, old varieties, eggs.” But the landscape is much bigger than it seems. Here, it is memory, as well as the present moment, that is relentlessly cultivated – “remembrance”, as Rimbaud liked to write. Every day watered, collected, accompanied.

Zucchini “forgotten”

From then on, a beautiful story at the bottom of the garden, some courgettes that Charlotte and Mathieu pretend to ignore. Simple idea: let them grow so that all their meat can be eaten for several days at the end of the month. Then in the market, in a corner of the trestles, entrust them, one by one, “forgotten courgettes”, to those who, alone or with family, need a good meal – organic, local, real – it is not a matter of choice. . At two euros, yes, the party for several nights. Up to four kilos of recipes to taste – in sauces, side dishes, baked dishes, pan-fried, carpaccio, even sweets, in cakes, in ice cream or in sorbets.
Today with us, stuffed with garlic and spring onion, covered with a fig leaf. Easy. There, on the block, in the light of a long summer afternoon, for a “forgotten”: a clove of garlic, an onion, a branch of fig, a teaspoon of a spice of your choice – here, Dourdou powder, black magic of our composition, soon available, we can not wait, in the supermarket -, three pinches of salt and a rapeseed oil.

Bright, green, fresh, slightly smoky smell.

Split the top, scoop out the seeds, stuff the garlic and onion with thin jagged strips, season, fearlessly salt and baste non-stop before placing the top in the oven, covered. Forty-five minutes of a lively, green, fresh, slightly smoky smell at a hundred and fifty degrees. Going out, under the lid, the fig leaf, so that it is infused both with the water released by the pumpkin and with the rapeseed that sprouts from the foot of its stem to its sides.
As if on scales, a reptile from another time, a chimera, the object of fairy tales; a bit of Yayoi Kusama; similar to the first drawings that return from the Americas, from Mexico in particular, where the vegetable was domesticated more than ten thousand years ago until it became this essential in Europe, from the flower to the fruit, the dishes and the garden.
Magical, placed in the heart of the table, in the center of the large round board on which it is carefully cut, piece by piece, like an English cake in a tea room. The firm, almost hard skin, the tender and juicy chew, the biting stuffing, by surprise, a clove nose, that momentary burning on the tip of the tongue, that twist of figs lurking on the palate.

Tasting both memory and oblivion, flesh and spirit

From the Yüsra Gardens to the shadow of the great walls that arch the inner courtyard of the house, memory will have made its way, a passing corsair, hand in hand. The oven still warm, steaming in the half-open door, the light breeze in the blooming sumacs, savoring both memory and oblivion, flesh and spirit.
Of Charlottes and Mathieus, the world of ships has so few; to the railing of better days, sailors of the planet Earth; guardians of the temple, faithful to what is needed in values, courage, to sow, headwind, whatever it takes, the seeds of a tomorrow without fear.
From simple things, to royal tables, think of forgotten vegetables, as a superb alibi to produce-well-eat well.
Would we still be capable of it, all of us, collectively? And Perret himself concludes: “In the unlikely event that the end of time is prolonged indefinitely, we would say, to console ourselves, that the nobility of man is to ask questions without answers.

Some words

Of Indian and Catalan roots, born in Aveyron by adoption, Alix Pons Bellegarde is the main researcher. With the anthropologist Antonin Pons Braley and his children, she travels the world to archive the food cultures of the insular and northern regions. Recently back in Aveyron, the couple founded their “Famille Pons Bellegarde” brand in 2021 and are preparing to open from next August in Bezonnes, near Rodez, their gastronomic table, gourmet bookstore and seasonal grocery store; in addition to launching its Diario 42, a bimonthly newspaper dedicated to the alimentarium with a culinary radius of forty-two kilometers around Rodez.
The duo deliver a weekly journal of Aveyron cuisine and explorations to Center Presse readers.
Facebook : Pons Bellegarde Family

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