Thursday, 16 August 2012

Courgette and Feta Fritters

Before anyone gets any ideas about green thumbs around here, let me clarify that the recent preponderance of courgette recipes has nothing whatsoever to do with any home grown glut. We do have a couple of courgette plants, true - where else would we get the courgette flowers? - but so far we've harvested precisely one courgette. Another rotted in the rain, and a slug or snail got the third, while any teeny tiny babies were snapped off and deep fried weeks ago. But, you know, the farmers seem to be more successful than us and in recent weeks we've been buying courgettes by the armful. If our own production ever comes up to speed, I'll let you know.

In fact, despite great enthusiasm, we're still total garden novices. Plants die with serial killer regularity. My mum and aunty are the only ones who ever weed or prune, and it looks set to stay that way (when I ask my mum how to tell which are weeds, she says "well, I just know". SHE may well know, but I ain't got a clue). The only digging in our garden is done by our friendly neighbourhood fox, the bastard. 

But green thumbs aren't everything, and shop-bought courgettes are just as tasty in this recipe as home-grown. I tried this out the other day and it made a delicious, light dinner - perfect for hot days and crisp white wines. Of course, I say light, but it was fried and cheese-stuffed. Still, I'm sticking to my guns. Anything this green can't possibly count as heavy. 

The base recipe here came from Jamie Oliver's website and, I'll be honest, I chose it because unlike a few others I saw, it didn't tell you to salt and drain the courgettes. By the time I got home from work I really could not be bothered with all that faffing around, so I let laziness win again. And you know what? It was totally fine. The mixture was quite wet, but it still worked, and the finished fritters were lovely. So put that in your pipe and smoke it, people of the internet. Another victory for slapdashery.

Of course, as you might have guessed, the main reason for cooking this was to get rid of any lingering feta before my anti-feta-husband came home. The flavour in the finished fritter wasn't overpowering at all, so I think even he would like them - but, ahem, they'd all disappeared long before that. If our garden comes up trumps, they may make a reappearance before the summer is over. But I don't think any courgette recipe can trump the courgette and chilli pasta with crispy spinach balls. If ever a recipe would inspire us to get a-digging and a-weeding, that would be the one. 

Courgette and Feta Fritters
Loosely based on this recipe from Jamie Oliver's website
For one person's dinner, or a starter for two

- 10g flour
- 35g feta, crumbled
- 1 courgette, grated
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teeny chilli or half a bigger one, ditto
- 1 spring onion, also finely chopped
- an egg
- a good grating of parmesan
- pinch of ground black pepper
- lemon zest (although mine didn't have any zest left so I added a squeeze of juice)
- a few sprigs each of parsley and mint, chopped

In a large bowl, mix together the courgette, garlic, chilli, spring onion, egg, parmesan, pepper, lemon zest and herbs until well blended. Crumble in the feta, and mix carefully to combine. 

Get a large frying pan over a medium heat, and add a sploosh of olive oil. Add the mix in dessertspoonfuls, and cook for about 3 minutes (or until golden). Carefully turn over with a spatula, and cook for another three minutes or until golden again, squishing down the mix gently into a flattish patty. Serve with chilli sauce for a bit of a kick.

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