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.