Courgette, Goat’s Cheese and Basil Fritters

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On the way home from tutoring German last night, I almost walked into the chip shop for my regular order of haddock, chips and peas. But I just managed to hold back, and stuck to the plan formulated on the overly-long journey, which involved a significant detour, thanks to my overground route going offline. Earlier that day I had visited the grocer and bought a selection including two young, still firm pale green courgettes, some plumes of fragrant basil, and from elsewhere, a small tube of fresh, chalky goat’s cheese. I wanted to do something different than whacking them under the grill – I wanted to concoct something new, and fritters was what I decided upon. I spent a while thinking about how to cook them without wheat, and came up with the method below, which worked very well. The mixture is quite fragile and wet, but don’t worry: when it hits the hot oil, it floats and crisps and turns golden brown after a few minutes’ frying. They were really tasty.

Serves 2 as a starter, or one as a main

Ingredients:

2 smallish, firm courgettes, grated: after grating each one, place into a teatowel, draw up the sides, and squeeze out as much moisture from the courgette through the tea towel over the sink as you can physically manage. Do this one at a time, to ensure you get as much moisture out as possible.

2 tablespoons of soft, chalky goat’s cheese

1 teaspoon, mild turkish chilli flakes

bunch of fresh basil, leaves finely chopped

zest, ½ lemon

1 egg

salt and pepper

sunflower oil

3 tablespoons, fine polenta

Dip:

good mayonnaise

extra olive oil

squeeze of lemon juice

black pepper

Garnish: 

Grating of parmesan (optional)

How to make: 

Prepare the courgette as described above. Mix in the goat’s cheese, chilli flakes, basil, lemon zest and a good pinch of salt and grind of black pepper thoroughly in a bowl. 

Separate the egg by cracking and gently pouring the yolk between each half, draining the white out into a new bowl. Mix the yolk in with the courgette. Whisk the egg white with a pinch of salt until frothy, white and till it can form stiff peaks.

Pour the polenta into a bowl. Fill a smallish frying pan with sunflower oil, until it is about 2cm deep and turn the heat on.

Fold the egg white into the courgette mix. Check the temperature of the oil by dropping in a tiny amount of mixture – if it fizzles and floats then the oil is ready.

Make the fritters by taking a small dessertspoon of courgette mixture, gently laying in polenta, and gently coat it in polenta, then pick it up with a slotted spoon (one with holes in) and gently place it into the hot oil. Turn it over when it’s golden brown on the bottom. Cook for a few minutes on each side. Remove and lay on kitchen towel. You can cook quite a few at the same time in your pan. Continue until the mixture is finished. 

Serve with a a grating of parmesan over the top if you like, salad and the mayonnaise dip – mix up mayo with a squeeze of lemon juice, some black pepper and a dash of extra virgin olive oil.

Eaten with:

Salad, mayo and a beer. 

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