Tag Archives: courgettes

Experimental fritters

experimental fritters 2

This is a really good example of something I wouldn’t in a million years have bothered to cook before I started my new life as a grain-free person rendered unable to eat deliciously battered, frittered and fried stuff. But, as I may have mentioned before, necessity is the mother of invention. And where there’s a will to eat fritters, there’s a way to find a way to cook ’em, eat ’em and be thankful  that fritters can once again be part of your life .

I ended up making these twice recently and the first time I – being inclined slightly towards slap-dashery – massively underestimated the importance of extracting as much of the water from the courgettes as possible before assembling the fritter. If you don’t do this you end up losing a lot of the flavour from the added garlic and chilli and lemon zest, as you will end up literally squeezing the excess water from the courgette as you shape your grated, zested and seasoned mixture into a patty. So even if you, too, are a bit slap-dash, I’d say the salting and weighing down of your grated courgettes for a good couple of hours before adding the other stuff is unavoidable. It may sound a faff, but if you get started early enough it’s really the work of an instant, or maybe two, to set the ball in motion and it makes a huge difference. I served these with cucumber and mint yoghurt, and garlic and oregano roasted tomatoes which really was quite fine, as a combo.

Grain-free fritters use almond flour instead of real flour and I guess if you can do this with courgettes, then the frittering possibilities are not exactly endless, but I’m happy to say that another door has definitely opened and I will be reporting back on other experiments in frittering, believe you me.

Courgette fritters (makes 4-6) 

4 medium courgettes

zest of 1 lemon

chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

ground-nut oil for frying

1 or 2 raw eggs, beaten

150 g ground almonds  (you may need more, depending on the size of your fritters)

100 g grated parmesan

Grate the courgettes into a sieve then suspend the sieve over a bowl, lightly salt (not too much as it’s hard to wipe the salt off grated anything) and put a plate on top small enough to directly touch the courgettes. Then weight the plate with something small and heavy (I used an earthenware pot full of utensils). Over the course of two hours you will be AGOG, and strangely satisfied, to see how much water is released.

When you think the courgettes are suitably de-watered, mix the ground almonds and parmesan together and put the combination of the two on a side plate, for dipping purposes.  Then mix the chilli, zest and garlic into 1 beaten egg then season and add that to the courgettes. Use your judgement about whether it needs another egg (you want it to bind things together but not render the mixture too wet) before using your hands to shape into patties the size that you desire. Smallish is good, I think, because they do incline towards cracking and breaking. Then carefully and patiently dip either side of each patty into the almond/parmesan mix. Heat up the ground-nut  oil and fry on either side until they are golden brown. Then put into a roasting tin and, when you are ready, heat the oven to 180 and cook for 20-15 minutes.

 

aubergizza and griddled courgettes

Auberg-izza      griddled courgettes

 

Back in the day when I could eat pizza with abandon, I was blasé and took it for granted. I did eat pizza quite often (mmmm Strada) but I don’t think I realised how lucky I was and how much I would miss it when it was gone.

But whenever I am getting forlorn and sad, and wistfully rueing all the delicacies that I can no longer eat (tempting though that is) what I try to do is to stay in the present. And, now that pizza has been banned, I keep on coming up with new ways to scratch the pizza itch. Cauliflower pizza is pretty darn good, and so are roasted tomatoes with oregano. But here’s the latest experiment: aubergizza! Or maybe it’s pizzagine; I haven’t decided yet. I made these for my vegetarian sister-in-law at the weekend and I was planning to make lots of things to go with them. But we ran out of time so I just served them with these griddled courgettes, and a green salad, and it felt like a pretty substantial supper and really quite pizza-like (bearing in mind that I am coming from a starting point of complete pizza-less-ness, that is).

 

Tomato sauce

I made this a couple of hours in advance as it benefits from a bit of long slow cooking but it’s really an assembly job and then the magic just happens in the pan with zero interference.

2 small onions, diced

2 garlic cloves

2 tins tomatoes (it’s really worth splashing the cash on Napolitana ones which are twice the price but twice as nice as many other brands, I think).

Fry the onions in ground nut or rape seed oil (I know I’m coming late to the party but these oils have a higher burn point than olive oil so don’t turn into horrible transfats) until soft and translucent. When they are cooked, gently smash the garlic with the back of a large knife and put in whole for a minute or two before adding the tomatoes then cooking for at least an hour, with the lid off so it reduces a bit and becomes fairly consolidated. Put aside and move onto the aubergines. If you are making this and really feel passionately that olive oil is essential – as I do, actually – you could always add a glug of extra virgin olive oil at the very end, once cooked, just before serving.

Aubergizza

Just to say that a griddle pan is a pretty essential piece of kit for this!

4 medium aubergines (I allowed one per person in case they were so delicious people couldn’t stop eating them – but we had leftovers which is no bad thing).

Tomato sauce

cheddar cheese, grated

Slice the aubergines lengthways into pretty chunky slices (it depends on size of course but I got four slices out of each one). Ideally, you’d put them into a bowl and salt them then leave them with a heavy weight on for at least half an hour before wiping the salt and water away. But I don’t suppose it’s the end of the world if you don’t have time for this. Then put them into a bowl and use your hands to make sure they are completely covered on both sides with rape seed oil. Heat your griddle pan up so it’s really hot, then place the aubergine slices lengthways (you’ll probably have to do this in batches and the pan should be so hot that the aubergines should sizzle as they meet it). Cook one side and then the other, using a fork to make sure they are properly cooked and beautifully branded with sizzle marks. Then remove to cool and  continue cooking the rest.

Once you’ve cooked them all, put the grill on and arrange the aubergines side by side on the grill pan before covering each one with tomato sauce, then cheddar, and grilling them so the cheese melts.

As the cheese was melting, I gridded my courgettes, which I’d basted in rapeseed oil and lemon. If I’d had more time I might have done something a bit fancier with them (some kind of garlicky dressing and maybe built a salad around them), but they were pretty good on their own.