Whether you buy into low carb or not, the humble courgette has seen a renaissance in recent years. Sales are apparently up 300% in some places. My reasoning for the courgette being up there really stems from two things – Greek island holiday in Kefalonia and Zakynthos and
Bill Granger. Both use courgettes brilliantly. For me, courgette is the vegetable equivalent of pork, it just works so well with so many flavours. The problem with courgette is when it is boiled and overcooked, it goes slimy – so please don’t do that. But, fried or turned into little fritters with all sorts of herbs, cheeses and other flavours, this green vegetable transforms.
So with that, the crispy fried courgette.
In essence, what you are making is a tempura batter. Tempura works when it is cold, the water is fizzy, the batter isn’t overmixed, it is a bit lumpy and the consistency of single cream, and it hits hot oil (don’t let the temperature drop below 180C or you will get greasy fried slimy courgettes!).
2 medium courgettes
Ice cold fizzy water
2 Ice cubes
Oil for Frying
For this you should use a deep fat fryer or if yo
u know what you are doing a frying pan with oil in it. Please don’t attempt this if you don’t feel safe doing it, hot oil can be challenging.
First, cut the ends off the courgette and either use a mandolin, or by hand chop the courgette into 1/2cm by 5cm matchsticks. Salt liberally in a bowl and leave for 20 minutes. Strain off the water that comes off the courgette.
Heat the oil to 190C.
Lightly coat the courgette strips in flour. Add two tablespoons of flour to another bowl. Gently mixing add the fizzy water to the flour until it is the consistency of single cream. Add the ice cubes and the courgette to the batter. Mix evenly. Then a handful at a time add the courgette to the oil making sure to avoid putting the ice cubes into the oil.
Don’t put it all in, you need to maintain the temperature, so I find two handfuls gently dropped in, separating the strips as you go works well. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until crispy. Place onto kitchen paper and salt with sea salt. Repeat the process but make sure the oil has always return to temperature. For a starter you can eat it with tzatziki and a harissa tomato sauce. Otherwise it goes brilliantly with most grilled meats (above with beef) or fish.