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Why is it such a thing about courgettes every summer? Magazines, blogs and weekend supplements fall over themselves to supply novel ways of utilising courgettes: cakes, breads, omelettes and ravioli. Worldwide – since it also applies if you call them zucchini – there are helplines set out to advise on everything courgette.
Why so? I don’t think we have the same thing about beetroot, for instance, and I for one have three neat rows of beet crop, even after thinning them out twice. There are no desperate queries posted about a glut of broccoli, or about carrots. Too many cabbages? No worries, I’ll just give them away. Why do we get in a frenzy about courgettes?
I suspect it’s because they are easy to grow so everyone does, even though we don’t like them very much.
Have you ever heard anyone profess zucchini to be their favourite veg? Exactly. There’s no definite taste to them, they are watery and insipid, and don’t even take on flavours like some other bland agents, potatoes. So why even bother? Beats me.
I don’t mind courgettes actually, best like slices fried hard in butter (but then what isn’t tasty fried hard in butter?) but I have the same issue as everyone else: we’ve grown the buggers, now we gotta eat ’em.
This is a take on fritters (a variety of ‘frying hard in butter’) but without the faff of grating and squeezing. The crunchy, spicy coating is really nice so really, who cares what the hell is inside it?
courgette frittersServings: 2-3Time: about 20 minutes
- 2-3 courgettes (round yellow or regular green ones)
- plain flour
- 1 egg
- ½ cup fine cornmeal
- 1 tsp fine salt
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp tomato powder (if you can’t get hold of it, add 1 tsp tomato paste to the egg wash instead)
- oil, for frying
- a few sprigs of mint and parsley
- sour cream, to serve (optional)
Slice the courgettes into thick rounds.
Prepare three shallow dishes to coat the fritters: with plain flour, egg beaten with a spoonful of water and cornmeal stirred with the spices. Strip the mint and parsley leaves off the sprigs and chop them finely.
Pat the courgette slices with paper towels. Dip them, one by one, first in flour, shaking off excess; then in egg wash and finally in seasoned cornmeal, making sure it sticks well on both sides. If you have the time, chill the fritters on a tray lined with paper towels, to firm them up.
Heat about a cup of oil in a large frying pan (work in batches if necessary, keeping the fried fritters warm on paper towels). When a crumb of cornmeal thrown into the oil sizzles, add the fritters to the pan in one layer and fry until charred and crisp, about 5 minutes on each side.
Drain on paper towels and serve garnished with the mint and parsley, and dollops of sour cream or Greek yoghurt.