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les petits farcis de tarragon and chives

 Les petits farcis are a classic dish seen throughout the French Riviera. I particularly like the small zucchini balls stuffed with meat, tomatoes and vegetables so after doing a sampling of petits farcis on our trip to France to attend a lovely friend's wedding in Antibes I decided to recreate these savory zucchini balls in my own kitchen.  Lucky me, I found the petite zucchini balls at our local farmers market. I used house made spicy Italian chicken sausage for the meat, chopped tomatoes, yellow onions, chopped zucchini, toasted bread crumbs, garlic, Parmesan cheese, chopped parsley and extra virgin Olive oil for my filling. I perused recipes online for information and inspiration.  Et voila! my petits farcis were created, served for dinner with a green salad and immensely enjoyed, following is my recipe.

Ingredients and Recipe for Les Petits Farcis de Tarragon and Chives
Makes 6 petite zucchini balls

6 zucchini balls
1 small yellow onion diced
1 galic clove, minced
2 house made spicy Italian chicken sausages
24 ounces chopped tomatoes, divided (1/2 cup for filling)
1 slice of stale or toasted sourdough bread, crumbled
Extra virgin olive oil
Chopped parsley to taste
Grated Parmesan to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375F
Cut off the tops of the zucchini balls(see top photo) and scoop out the interior-leaving a fairly sturdy wall to hold the filling-set aside the balls, chop the scooped out zucchini into 1/2" pieces, set aside.
Heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet and add the chopped onion, stirring 5-6 minutes or until soft and translucent, stir in the minced garlic, sauté for about 30 seconds, remove onion garlic mixture form the skillet.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and add the chicken sausage meat, stir, breaking up clumps and brown, add to bowl with the onion mixture.  Heat 1 tablespoon oil in skillet and stir in the chopped up zucchini, cooking and stirring until soft, add to the bowl with sausage.  Blend all the filling ingredients in the bowl with your hands until fairly smooth, stir in the bread crumbs and 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes.  Season with sea salt and black pepper, remember- the sausage meat has already been salted.  You can cook a pinch of the filling and taste for seasoning before filling the balls, if you like.  Fill the balls with the stuffing/filling mixture, I left the zucchini ball tops off because I like the look of the filling mounded up on top.

Pour the chopped tomatoes into the bottom of a baking pan that will comfortably hold the zucchini balls.
Place the stuffed zucchini balls on top of the tomatoes and drizzle the entire dish with olive oil.  Place in the oven and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until tomato sauce is bubbling and the zucchini looks cooked throughout.  Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Add the grated Parmesan and freshly chopped parsley sprinkled over tops to serve.

Les petits farcis may also be served at room temperature.


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