One of the wonderful things about eating seasonally is that you can look forward to eating a particular fruit or vegetable rather than simply having everything available, plastic wrapped and taken for granted all the time. It also means that the food you buy is tastier and fresher.
Courgette season runs from May to September, but it has started early this year and the market is full of the beautifully firm and tender young vegetables. There must be a bumper harvest because the stall holders are virtually giving them away, I paid under 1€ a kilo!
Did you know that courgettes have really high levels of vitamin C, masses of potassium (which is key to controlling blood pressure), lots of soluble fibre and very few calories? Did you also know they are technically a fruit? Whether you call them courgette or zucchini (which most of the world does!) they both mean ‘little squash.’ If you leave courgettes to grow big, they turn into nasty stringy marrows and then they make me shudder!
I really love courgettes’ versatility. You can eat them raw in salads (especially now at the start of the season when they’re so young and sweet), you can blanche them and use them as faux spaghetti, you can stuff them, you can make great soup out of them and you can make fritters out of them that even the most reluctant of children will wolf down.
My kids (now well and truly grown), used to love the process of making the bright green courgette fritters so much that they were quite prepared to forget that the fritters actually contained green stuff! Nowadays the fritter making with my daughter involves plentiful wine and chilli sauce and she now embraces all things green, but apart from that not much has changed!
Ingredients for about 20 Courgette fritters
- 3 courgettes (coarsely grated)
- 2 salad onions (finely sliced)
- 1 fresh red chilli (or 2 if cooking for my husband!)
- 1 lemon (zested)
- 1 garlic clove (minced)
- 1 bunch fresh mint + parsley + chives
- 100gm flour
- 3 good pinches oregano
- 120gm feta
- 2 free range eggs
- Olive oil and salt and pepper to taste
Grate the courgettes coarsely into a bowl. It’s a good idea to squeeze out as much of the moisture as you can by hand, this helps the mixture stick together. Into the same bowl finely grate the lemon zest and the parmesan and then add the de-seeded and finely diced chilli if you’re using it. Add the minced garlic and the finely sliced salad onion. (Something else they’re practically giving away at the market at the moment. I got 2 bunches for 1€).
In another bowl beat the eggs with the lemon zest, chopped herbs, oregano, salt and a really good pinch of pepper, then add the flour. Combine this with the courgette mixture. Mix it all up together and crumble in the feta while mixing. (Kids love this bit because you really have to get your hands dirty here).
You may find you need to add some additional flour, the mixture should be soft but not liquid. Try cooking one fritter to see if it’s the right texture.
Drizzle a small amount of oil in a non-stick pan (not much, you are not deep frying) and drop a table spoonful of the mixture into the hot pan (don’t make them too big or they won’t cook through), fry for a couple of minutes on each side until golden.
We love them with Tzatziki or a sweet chilli dipping sauce. They’re great cold for lunch the next day, but sadly, in our house, they rarely last that long!
Lisa Girling is the owner and director of TEFL International Barcelona where she trains teachers of English. She loves growing, cooking and eating food and lives in Sant Pere de Ribes, Catalonia, with her husband and two cats.
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