INGREDIENTSMAKES AT LEAST 15
1 tsp salt
2-3 tbsp olive oil
3 eggs, beaten
small bunch of mint, leaves only, chopped into shreds
½ tsp baking powder
plain flour, for the batter
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Pale squashes similar to courgettes are often used in Lebanese cooking, typically stuffed and braised. These fritters have probably been influenced by Turkish cooking somewhere in time, perhaps even going back to the Ottoman empire, but for me they reflect simple home cooking at its best. I prefer to cook them as small free-form pieces in deep oil, though you can shallow-fry them patted out flat with a spoon. They are absolutely delicious served hot with Black Olive Labneh (see p.56) and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Grate the courgettes, place in a bowl, then sprinkle on the salt and leave for 30 minutes.
Squeeze handfuls of grated courgette until they release as much liquid as possible, then place the dry courgette to one side, discard the liquid and return the courgette to the bowl.
Peel and grate the onions. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat, then fry the onions until soft. Add the onions to the bowl of courgettes and stir well. Crumble in the feta and add the beaten eggs.
Add the mint and plenty of black pepper. Stir everything together, then add the baking powder and enough flour to make a soft batter (you can always adjust the consistency later).
Heat 2-3cm of vegetable oil in a deep, heavy-based saucepan. When you think it is hot, test the temperature with some of the batter. It should fry to a golden brown in 2 minutes, so lower the heat and allow the oil to cool if it colours too quickly. Spoon rounded tablespoons of batter into the oil in batches and fry until golden. Drain on kitchen paper, test the first ones to check they’re cooked in the middle, then keep warm in a low oven while you fry the remainder.