Courgette sounds to me like a name of a princess. A princess, that would be a perfect heroine of a Five-A-Day story like this one.
Once upon a time there lived a princess of a slightly-pear-yet-slender shape and deepest green shade of skin. She was called Courgette. She was a very delicate and tender young lady. She cared for the others and was always kind to them. Other vegetables admired her beauty but while they might get green with envy, Brussels sprouts were still a bland green, French beans were too slim and the broccoli could not contain himself. And the cucumber? The cucumber just could not take his eyes off her. He silently adored Princess Courgette longing that some day he could be near her. What a great combination of greens that would be.
Sadly enough, the princess never really noticed any of his feelings as her heart was already full of love for the reddest of them all – the tomato. His juiciness and plumpiness completely captivated her and all she could do was to dream they will be joined in the most romantic dance of the last Ratatouille. So the tomato grew bigger and bigger and fuller of himself basting in Princess Courgette’s love, while the poor cucumber got thinner and leaner and lost all his gleam.
And so the Ratatouille day came and Courgette and Tomato got picked. But it was nothing like the princess had imagined. There was no dance and no passion.The pompous tomato stood there in his red glory. “Green looks nice next to me,” he said “it complements well my carmine colour.” It was only then that Princess Courgette saw the miserable green shape and desperate look and realized that Cucumber was in love with her. Courgette thought of all the time they wasted and what a great pair they would make. But now it was only time left to say goodbye and so Courgette blew him a farewell kiss and Cucumber grinned with bitter-sweet joy.
For a long time I was blissfully unaware of what courgette was. As a child I would not pay any attention to the unappealing green vegetable that in fairness very rarely appeared on the menu. Indeed, I only discovered its potential when I got my first cookbook by a Polish-French cook, Pascal Brodnicki. Half out of curiosity and half out of boredom I decided to give courgette fritters a try. And it was a hit from the very start. The little fritters are perfect for sharing and are sure to be all gone off the table. I would usually make them when expecting a bunch of children to come by around dinner time and like to serve them with a generous bowl of tzatziki to give it an even more summery flavour. And because I do believe courgette and cucumber make a great pair.
Courgette fritters with Tzatziki
For the fritters:
2-3 medium courgettes – unpeeled
3 spring onions – finely chopped
4 eggs – bitten
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tbs walnut oil
1/2 cup sunflower oil for frying
For the Tzatziki:
2 cucumbers – peeled
2-4 garlic cloves
1 cup natural yogurt (ideally Greek yogurt)
a mix of favourite herbs – basil, mint, dill, chives
salt and pepper to taste
First – prepare your courgettes. Wash, dry and cut the ends off but do not peel them. Coarsely grate them in a big mixing bowl and leave them for a while as you make Tzatziki.
In a medium bowl coarsely grate the cucumbers. Season with salt. Add yogurt with as much pressed garlic as you wish (we like it quite garlicky) and finely chopped herbs. Mix together and set aside.
Go back to your courgettes. Add the bitten eggs, and the flour mixed with baking power and a pinch of salt. Mix together – your little helpers can use their hands for that – and stir in the walnut oil and finely chopped spring onion. Add salt and pepper to taste.
On the frying pan heat enough sunflower oil to fully cover the bottom. Use a tablespoon and carefully drop the mixture into the hot oil. Make sure the oil is just right. Too hot – and the fritters will burn. Not hot enough – and the fritters will soak up too much oil. If the oil is just the right temperature the fritters will get golden brown after a minute on each side. Once nicely browned remove from the pan, dry the excess oil on a kitchen towel and pile them up on a serving plate or bowl.
Make on a nice sunny day, share and see them gone in minutes.
Sonia (with some help of Natasha)