Nigel’s midweek dinner
Butternut and feta fritters
Peel and remove the seeds from 300g of butternut squash. Push the squash through a spiralizer to give long, thin strings. Peel 2 cloves of garlic and thinly slice them. Chop enough flat-leaf parsley to give 3 heaped tbsp. Warm a little groundnut oil in a large, shallow pan, then add the garlic, let it sizzle for a couple of minutes then, as it starts to colour, drop in the squash and fry for 5 or 6 minutes until the colours are bright and the squash is tender but far from falling apart.
Make a batter by mixing together 2 egg yolks, 200g of feta cheese, 4 tbsp of plain flour, a grinding of black pepper and 1 tbsp of chopped thyme leaves. Beat 2 egg whites until frothy then fold into the batter. Toss the threads of butternut squash with the batter.
Warm enough groundnut oil in a deep, heavy pan to fry the fritters. When the oil is at 180C take a large spoonful of the batter-coated butternut and lower into the hot oil. Repeat with a further 3 or 4, frying for 3 to 4 minutes until crisp and golden in colour. As each fritter is ready, remove with a draining spoon and rest on kitchen paper. Continue until you have 9 fritters. Serve hot. Serves 3.
Get the oil to the right temperature before lowering in the squash. It should measure 180C on a kitchen thermometer. If you don’t have one, drop a cube of bread into the oil. It should sizzle instantly and turn pale gold in a minute or two. If the bread doesn’t fizz as soon as you add it, the oil is not hot enough.
You could use marrow or courgettes in place of the butternut. The courgette will work deliciously with feta and thyme. Make a dip with yogurt and chopped mint. Try stilton instead of feta. ■