Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Courgette fritters

I've made various versions of courgette fritters before: a Nigella version from Forever Summer - which make a good veggie starter in the courgette season (ahem) - and a Delia recipe which I vaguely recall has potatoes in too. I should preface this by admitting that the word fritter doesn't do much for me: it evokes frying and grease and batter, and I really don't like batter much. (Simon heard Rick Stein say the other day that fish and chips is the best meal in the world, and repeated it somewhat triumphantly, because Simon loves fish and chips and I can't honestly see the appeal. They smell good but they are so greasy and they leave you with a horribly dry mouth. Or perhaps that's just me.) I wish someone would come up with another name for courgette fritters - courgette cakes sounds good, or courgette clusters. At any rate, I like courgette fritters a lot, despite their off-putting name, but I've never been much good at fritter-type food; I am better at cakes and curries (odd combination but it works for me). All this as something of a preamble to my take on Jamie's courgette fritters, which I made on Sunday (again. Sunday was a good day, in cooking terms) for dinner, with roast chicken and a baked butter bean dish.

Roast chicken is the ultimate in comfort food; stew is too, of course, but not in the same way. Roast chicken is, in my opinion, like the good friend you can take anywhere and who will always fit in. When I was a child, my nana used to come to stay every Tuesday; she would arrive (on the bus) while Stuart and I were at school, and when I walked through the door after school, bang on time for Sons and Daughters, that appalling Australian soap, I could smell the chicken roasting. Nana always did a roast, not always chicken, but often; the smell is incredibly evocative even now. I was a bit of a chicken obsessive when I was younger and I confess I could still probably eat chicken for every meal for quite a while before I got fed up. I go through phases of spending Sunday afternoons roasting chickens and making all the trimmings (usually in the winter), but that sort of dinner ties up the oven somewhat; roast chicken can be so much more versatile than that. I often roast a chicken to eat with other kinds of food, and if I do, I follow Jamie or Bill Granger, most often Jamie, in making a stuffing to put between skin and breast. This time, I followed Jamie in The Return of the Naked Chef, with butter, prosciutto, herbs, garlic but I added chopped apricots because I like them in stuffing, and then I roasted the chicken. I made a Tessa Kiros baked butter bean dish to go with the chicken, plus a lemon mayo, and the fritters.

The fritters sound easy but are annoying when you only want half quantities and aren't sure how to use half an egg. For 4 courgettes (and 4 people...), matchstick them and then toss them with 1 egg yolk, t tbsp plain flour, a deseeded red chilli, the chopped leaves from a bunch of mint, lemon zest and Parmesan; scrunch together. Whip the egg white with a pinch of salt until stiff and fold into the mixture. Shape into patties and fry.


This worked quite well for me, bearing in mind my innate inability to cope with fritters. They didn't burn or fall apart, which were the most likely possibilities. I could/should have cooked them a bit longer, but they tasted pretty delicious anyway, and they went very well with the chicken. Here is my plate, in case anyone is interested: roast chicken; tomatoey baked butter beans; courgette fritters.


Noone would imagine this if I told them I'd just had a roast. Funny, really. I suppose this is summer time eating, really, but it works surprisingly well in January when you've had a lot of rich food and your system wants a break (or in my case wants space to consume some chocolate or some cake). I would probably say, though, that roast chicken always hits the spot when needed; it is really the perfect food. To continue my analogy of chicken as a versatile friend, when it goes with gravy and veg, it is more middle-aged and sensibly dressed (M and S) to brave the cold air. Here it is marginally trendier - let's say Next, able to cope with a range of moods and occasions, not too old but not teeny bopper either and unfazed by the cold also. I will stop, here, before I start comparing chicken to shoes (I am capable of so doing) and return to fritters, which, I am thinking, come in a variety of forms too and can be truly delicious. Maybe Jamie is converting me.

14 comments:

Writing At The Kitchen Table said...

Hi Kathryn! You are making so much progress through the Jamie book - how many nmore recipes left (or daren't you look??)? And what book will be next for you? Larousse Gastronomy!
The fritters look yummy, I made some a few weeks ago using dried mint but I love the addition of the fresh chilli.
Freya x

julie said...

Chicken and shoes, now that made me curious!

I saw this recipe and as I love Nigella's, I want to make them too, but wonder if I'll have the patience to matchsticks 4 courgettes! Yours look good!

Kathryn said...

Freya, if I start on the Larousse I think I get divorced:). Simon's patience might wear thin and we'd certainly be eating at midnight.

I don't know what next, and funnily enough saying that makes me feel anticipatingly bereft. I never thought I would blog and I thought it was a waste of time and now I am somewhat addicted!

Your fritters looked gorgeous, as I recall...

Julie - it isn't too bad. Chicken and shoes. Well. A roast chicken would be a pair of sensible M and S shoes with a low chunky heel and a round toe. A harissa-spiced chicken would be a wacky sort of shoe, original and trendy, say from Faith. A chicken stuffed with apricots and prosciutto would be a suede wedge boot - comfy but stylish. A chicken breast marinaded and stuffed but retaining its shape and elegance would be a kitten heel...

etc...

Helen said...

I made these between Christmas and New Year and they were a horrible disaster. They fell to bits. I'm still trying to work out where I went wrong. I think I sliced the courgettes too thickly and didn't take off enough of the white part. I can see yours are more finely cut than mine. Yours look delicious. You should have seen my husband's face when he saw mine!

Kathryn said...

Helen - I am very good at murdering fritters too. I once made Bill Granger's sweetcorn ones fall apart. A foolproof recipe seems to be Nigella's in Forever Summer (I've never made them fall apart). These felt a bit precarious but they worked out (relief)...

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