Sunday 8 September 2013

Courgette Fritters with Griddled Halloumi

The weekends are my favourite time to allow myself to relax, take a little time and prepare something different and tasty for at least one of the meals during the day. Looking for lunch inspiration my fridge revealed a block of halloumi cheese and a courgette. A short while later courgette fritters with griddled lemon & chili halloumi was created.

For the fritters I used gram/chickpea flour which has a very savoury beany flavour that I think always works well in savoury fritters. It can be a little bland on its own, so I added some lemon zest and oregano to pep it up a bit. I decided not to add salt to the mix, as halloumi cheese is incredibly salty, and as I planned to eat them together I thought this would be enough seasoning.
Halloumi cheese is very firm and salty. You have to eat it fried or heated in some way otherwise it’s tough and squeaky. As I was planning ahead, I added some lemon, oregano and chili flakes to my halloumi and left it to marinate for 2 hours before cooking it. This added an extra flavour dimension, but you could probably get away with griddling it straight away. I don’t have a griddle pan so instead used my panini press and just didn’t close the lid, which worked really well and, even if I do say so myself, was quite a genius idea.
Halloumi cheese is best eaten straight after cooking, so make sure you cook the fritters first and leave them warming in the oven while you quickly cook the halloumi. Then it’s all hot and ready to go at once.

While the fritters were keeping warm in the oven I also added a few halved tomatoes. They didn’t really cook, as the heat was only low, but they warmed though enough to help enhance their natural juicy sweetness.
A little drizzle of sweet chili sauce and lunch was served. The pancakes were lightly crisp on the outside and still soft and tender in the centre. The courgette adds more of a colour and texture than any actual flavour, but everything eaten together produced a lovely combination of tastes and texture. Soft fritters, firm salty cheese, juicy tomatoes and a little heat from the chili. I wish Saturdays came round more than once a week!
And now for something completely different…
I’m off to a tiny Greek island with my sister next week so it may be quiet on here for a while. I hope to return having experiences some of the tastes and delights Greece has to offer. I’m longing to try the thick Greek yoghurt, honey, nuts, fresh fruit, feta cheese etc. Anyone got any gluten free Greek dishes they could recommend?

Courgette Fritters with Griddled Halloumi
150g (1 large) courgette
30g gram/chickpea flour
1 egg
1 tsp lemon zest
¼ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp baking powder
½ tbsp oil

Zest of ½ lemon
½ tsp dried chili flakes
¼ tsp dried oregano
Halloumi cheese

To Serve
Cherry tomatoes
Sweet chili sauce

Cut the halloumi into ½cm slices and lay on a plate in a single layer.
Sprinkle over the lemon, chili and oregano. Cover in cling film and leave to marinate for as long as possible – up to 24 hours.

For the fritters, wash and coarsely grate the courgette. Place onto some sheets of sturdy kitchen roll or a tea towel and wring most of the liquid out. It can be damp, but you don’t want it soggy.
Place into a large bowl and add the chickpea flour, lemon, oregano and baking powder. Toss until all the courgette is coated in the flour. Add the egg and mix until combined into a batter. It should be quite soft but still hold its shape when spooned into the pan. The more you stir, the more liquid will come out of the courgettes.
Add a little milk if your batter is too thick, or another 1-2 tsp of chickpea flour if too runny.
Warm your oven to around 100C. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and place on a baking tray and leave to warm in the oven. Also place a plate with a sheet of kitchen roll on into the oven to warm gently.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and drop tablespoonfuls of the batter into the pan. Allow to cook for 1 minute before flipping over the cooking for a further 30 seconds. They should be lightly golden.
Remove the fritters from the pan and transfer to the warm plate with kitchen roll to keep warm while you cook the rest.
Repeat until all the batter is used up. Leave the fritters to keep warm in the oven while you cook the halloumi

Heat a dry griddle or frying pan (I used my Panini press!) and place the slices of marinated halloumi onto the grills. Allow to cook for 30 seconds without touching them, then flip over and cook for further 30 seconds. They will release some oil as they cook. They should be softened and nicely griddled when done.

To serve, remove the fritters and tomatoes from the oven. Arrange 3-4 fritters in a stack in the middle of the warmed plate. Place 2-3 slices of halloumi on top and arrange some of the warmed tomatoes around the edge. Drizzle with a little sweet chili sauce.
Eat immediately. Makes 7-8 fritters


Choclette said...

You are brilliant Katie. Courgettes are just clambering off the plants and into our kitchen at the moment, so a new way of cooking them is very much welcome and I shall be making some of your fritters for supper tonight. They look delicious. Sadly, I don't have any halloumi to go with them, but what a lovely combination it would be.

I would have thought you'd find lots of good gluten free food in Greece - not that I've ever been. But I believe they do lots of bean dishes. Hope you have a lovely time.

The Caked Crusader said...

I love courgette fritters and yours looks lovely - puffy just like they should be!

Choclette said...

I did make them for supper. They didn't look half as good as yours, but they tasted fantastic. I used ras al-hanout as the flavouring.

Gluten Free Alchemist said...

I love halloumi! I usually grill it and throw it on salads, but this looks a great combination. Have a fab time in Greece!

Katie said...

Hi Choclette,
I'm so pleased you liked them. I love the idea of adding some aromatic ras alhanout to spice them up a bit.
If you don't have halloumi, I'm sure some crumbled feta or even some cream cheese would be nice with them.

Thanks for all the holiday wishes everyone!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

You're playing my song! I love fritters and halloumi is one of my favourite cheeses. I can't get enough of that squeaky, salty hit :D

Anonymous said...

Am scared of halloumi!!! never really got the hang of it, found it very salty and rubbery as you have said.......may have another go with it tho...............Nikki

Johanna GGG said...

sounds delicious - the halloumi would take the fritters to another level - have a great holiday - hope you find some yummy gf dishes