Now is the courgette’s time to shine. Summer squashes, in colours from pale mint green to bumblebee yellow fill the greengrocers. It’s the moment to reach over your run-of-the-mill green courgette for the likes of scallop-edged patty pans, which I’ve been roasting whole with a hint of sweet and a hit of sour. The small, sweet courgettes I’ve sliced paper-thin and dressed with mint, basil, lemon, oil, salt and nothing more – and then I’ve turned any lingering in the fridge into these fritters: courgettes, halloumi and a quick chilli jam to perk up the plate.
Courgette and halloumi fritters with chilli and mint jam (pictured above)
I use both rice flour and plain flour here, which I think together are key to the crispness of these fritters. If using two flours is a step too far, then plain, spelt or rice by themselves would work fine. If you are vegan, you can replace the halloumi with two more courgettes.
Prep 10 min
Cook 20 min
Makes 16 (serves 4)
3 medium courgettes (about 400g)
1 packet halloumi (about 225g)
100g rice flour
100g plain or white spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch dried oregano
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Salad leaves, to serve
For the chilli jam
6 red chillies, finely sliced
6 tbsp red-wine vinegar
5 tbsp sugar
1 small bunch mint, leaves picked and finely chopped
Put all the chilli jam ingredients into a small pan and bring to a simmer for five to eight minutes, until the liquid has thickened and the chillies are soft and sticky.
Grate the courgette and halloumi. Mix the flours, baking powder, oregano and lemon zest in a large bowl. Add the grated courgette and halloumi, and mix well. Season well with salt and black pepper.
Heat a large heavy-based frying pan on a medium heat and add a generous drizzle of olive oil. Next add the batter – about two tablespoons for each fritter – and fry for a couple of minutes, until the edge is well-set, then flip and cook for another couple of minutes. Keep going until all your batter is used up – keep the cooked fritters warm in a low oven.
Serve with the chilli jam and salad leaves dressed with the lemon juice. Leftover fritters keep well in the fridge for several days – reheat in a 180C/350F/gas 4 oven for about 10 minutes.
Roast agrodolce summer squash
These flavours are based on a classic Elizabeth David pairing, which is in turn based on a classic Italian recipe, agrodolce. I roast my courgettes (instead of braising them as David suggests) as I like them to be crisp and golden.
Prep 10 min
Cook 30-35 min
2 tbsp capers
4 tbsp red-wine vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp honey
½ tsp cinnamon
1 kg summer squash (patty pans) or small courgettes
400g cherry tomatoes, halved
Salt and black pepper
Zest of 1 lemon
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 good pinch chilli flakes
1 crumbly goat’s cheese
Heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas 7. Mix the capers, vinegar, olive oil, honey and cinnamon in a mixing bowl, add the squash or courgettes and turn to coat in the marinade.
Tip the lot on to a tray, scatter with the tomatoes, season well with salt and pepper, and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the courgettes are cooked through, burnished and brown at the edges.
Take out of the oven and scatter liberally with lemon zest, parsley and chilli flakes. Serve with a little goat’s cheese crumbled on top, a simple green salad and flatbreads, if you like.