The late Arto der Haroutunian, whose Vegetarian Dishes from the Middle East is another winning reissue from Grub Street, describes this dish as an omelette. One might also call it a kind of souffle.
These quantities are slightly different from Haroutunian's. I should also have adapted his instructions for the courgettes, which dilute the consistency. Though not a fan of pre-salting when it comes to aubergines, I recommend it here.
Serves 2 to 3 as a main course, with rice.
2 courgettes, grated on a course mesh
1 small onion, finely chopped
110g mushrooms, sliced
1tbsp plain flour
3tbsp Cheddar, grated
2tbsp chopped parsley (which I did not have)
3 eggs, separated (the recipe states 4 -- that seemed a bit much for two of us)
Salt and pepper
Put the grated courgettes in a colander, sprinkling over salt as you go. After 30 minutes, squeeze out the water.
Sweat the onion in the butter until softened. Tip in the mushrooms, and cook until the liquid they have thrown off has evaporated (you do not want it diluting the sauce later). Stir in the flour, and cook for a minute or two (you have to be careful that it does not catch, because the vegetables will have taken up some of the butter with which it should merge), before adding the milk, portion by portion, as you would when making a bechamel. Stop when you have a bubbling, thick sauce. Take it off the heat. Stir in the cheese, the parsley (if you have it), the egg yolks, and the courgettes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Whisk the egg whites until standing in peaks, then fold them into the courgette mixture (using a turning, rather than beating, motion).
Lightly butter a gratin dish, and pour in the mixture, covering it with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan if you like. Bake at gas mark 4/180C until risen and bubbling. It takes about 35 to 45 minutes.
Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.