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There’s a thick, circular cast-iron hot plate that hangs on the wall above my cooker in the kitchen. We picked it up at a car-boot sale years ago. I don’t know how old it is, but I can tell it’s been well used. I sometimes wonder where it came from, who made it and what sort of things have been cooked on it over the years. I’ve come to love my heavy, old hot plate. I can use it inside on my smart induction hob (who’d have thought?) or set it down over the flames of a fire in the garden, where it seems more at home. In the summer we cook these fritters on the hot plate using courgettes from the garden and lots of fresh herbs. They make a lovely supper, served alongside a leafy green salad and a bowl of buttery new potatoes.
2 courgettes (zucchini)
50g (1.75oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
50g (1.75oz) mature cheddar
A pinch of chilli flakes
1 small garlic clove, grated or crushed to a paste
Finely grated zest of half a lemon (keep the lemon for squeezing)
Half a teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
A handful of dill, chopped
A handful of mint, leaves picked and chopped
Trim the courgettes (zucchini), then grate them coarsely on to a board. Pick up handfuls of the courgette and squeeze out as much liquid as you possibly can. Place the squeezed courgette in a bowl. Stir in all the other ingredients except the oil, season with salt and pepper and mix well.
Heat a large, heavy-based frying pan or cast-iron hot plate over a medium-hot fire. Add the oil, and when it’s hot, spoon out the mixture into the pan. You can make one large fritter or several smaller ones – just cook them for 4–5 minutes on each side, or until they’re looking crisp and golden. Serve with a scattering of dill and mint leaves, a squeeze of lemon juice and a little flaky sea salt.
Published by Quadrille Books