Posted by Tania Kindersley.
I can’t remember how I first started making courgette fritters. I think I might have seen a recipe for them in a magazine. Anyway, I have been experimenting with them for a few months now, and the results were always very slightly disappointing. They were not nasty, but there was no va va voom. There was a terrible suspicion of blandness which hung over them.
The fritter seems, as far as I can tell, to come from the Near East – there are Libyan, Greek and Turkish versions, involving, variously, feta, onion, breadcrumbs, coriander, and mint. As usual, I refused to follow the given recipes (too bolshie and contrary), and embarked on inventing my very own. The disadvantage of this is the element of hit and miss. The advantage is that when you finally do get it right, you feel a saintly sense of achievement, in which I admit I am still basking.
Here is my definitive recipe, which was today’s lunch:
Half a courgette, grated
50 grams of cheddar cheese, grated
Good pinch of Malden Salt, and then another little one for luck
One dried chilli, finely sliced
Handful of watercress, chopped
One third of a cup of self-raising flour (when I say a cup, I mean a teacup, not a big old coffee mug)
And then some olive oil for frying
Whisk up the eggs, stir in all the other ingredients. You should have a nice thick batter. If it looks too runny, just add a tiny bit more flour. Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a frying pan at just above medium (I use six on my stove). When it is hot, drop in tablespoonfuls of the mixture, spreading it out a little each time. You want the fritters to be like little fat Scotch pancakes, but not so thick that they don’t cook in the middle. Give them two minutes each side – they should be golden and slightly crispy round the edges.
You can play around with this – you might like to add a little more cheese and a little less chilli. Sometimes I throw in some chopped basil, although I am not sure the flavour quite comes through the cooking process.
These are lovely for a quick lunch. They go especially well with a tomato salsa – just finely dice a couple of fat ripe tomatoes and a quarter cucumber and a red pepper, (the smaller the dice the better the salsa, so it is worth taking the trouble), add a good pinch of salt, a glug of olive oil, chopped basil and parsley, and a squeeze of lemon or lime, either works well. If you want a stronger flavour, add a very finely chopped garlic clove and a finely sliced red chilli, but you may find that this more robust salsa is better on its own with tortilla chips, because it can overwhelm the flavour of the fritters. And there you are - delicious, all the food groups represented, ready in ten minutes flat, and quite shockingly economical. What more can you ask of a dish?