The other week I mentioned a home-grown, pesticide-free courgette, courtesy of a colleague. Notice the singular? It wasn't a couple of squash it was one. See the spoon in the photo? That's a teaspoon. The veg in question was a 1.13kg (roughly 2.5 lb) beauty. Yup, it was a biggie.
A couple of chocolate loaves later and I was still up to my knees in zucchini (remember I am almost 5'1"). If the weather were cooler, they'be be roasted in some ratatouille and if I had a barbecue, I'd have grilled off some slices for a warm salad. But it was too warm for the oven and I don't have a barbecue. So I did the next best thing...I fritterised them.
Let's face it, there are worse things that could happen to a veg...I mean, they could be boiled to within an inch of their lives: any and all vestiges of flavour and inherant goodness they once contained are dissipated in a cafeteria worker's cooking pot.
Or they could be dehydrated and pulverised, mixed with a load of salt, polysyllabic preservatives and colourants to justify the "made with real vegetables"-type monicker on certain foods.
Fritters are incredibly easy--mix veggies into a batter and drop by the spoonful into a pan with about two to five centimetres of hot fat. Let the underside burnish and then flip over and fry the other side. Lift out of the fat (salt if you wish) and drain onto kitchen towels. Then eat while warm.
Curried Courgette Fritters
75g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp curry powder (or more or less, depending upon taste)
1 egg, beaten
450g courgettes, grated and drained of excess liquid
1 medium onion, grated and drained of excess liquid
oil, for frying
Heat the oil until it shimmers.
In the meantime, sift together all the dry ingredients, stir in the egg and fold in the grated courgettes and onion.
Drop by teaspoonful into the fat-flatten each drop out a bit so the centres will cook through. Don't crowd the pan otherwise the oil's temp will drop and then soak into the fritters, making the greasy and leaden. When the underside is burnished, turn over the fritter and fry until it too is a lovely golden brown. Remove from the oil and blot on kitchen towelling.
Normally when I have fritters I eat them plain or with ketchup or barbeque sauce. With this batch I decided to pair them with a very garlicky home-made aïoli. It was good in theory...and eventually in practise. My first batch of fritters, while practically perfect, were paired with a very imperfect garlicky dipping sauce. It just didn't come together: it was lumpy and bumpy and separated far too quickly.
So I tried it again, about a week later, with a new batch of fritters (from yet another mutant zucchini). This time, I wasn't in the best moods when I made the fritters and well...you could tell. The fritters were thin and scraggley and seemed to take forever to cook regardless of how warm the oil got. I lost several because they absorbed so much oil, their edibility was in question.
The aïoli, on the other hand, turned out beautifully--thick and unctious and very, very garlickly. It's quite easy to make--it's quite similar to making mayonnaise. You can make it by hand with a whisk or with a blender (stick or jug versions).
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 egg yolk
125 ml olive oil
125 ml canola oil (or other flavourless oil
1 dspn mashed potatoes
Whisk together the yolk and the garlic. Drizzle in the oils while constantly whisking, to thicken the sauce. Whisk in the mashed potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.