Courgette fries with garlic, thyme and parmesan
In the spring of 2014 my girlfriend and I visited San Francisco. Whilst we were there we saw the Giants play the Dodgers and win. But this wasn’t the best part of our evening, no, it was the garlic fries! This is my ever so slightly healthier version using courgette and I made a very quick roast tomato mayo for dipping.
Time: 20 minutes (plus 30 minutes salting)
1/2 very big courgette
Oil for frying
Unsalted butter (about a dessertspoonful)
50g cherry tomatoes, halved
Splash of red wine vinegar
Good quality mayonnaise
Salt and pepper
Begin by washing your courgette and slicing into thin strips, ideally just a mm or two thick. Then cut again so you have super thin ‘fries’. Place in a colander over a bowl or sink and sprinkle with salt and toss. You should find the courgette softens pretty quick but leave for about half an hour.
Meanwhile, put the tomatoes, red wine vinegar a drizzle of olive oil in a small pan, sprinkle over a generous pinch of sugar and bring to a sizzle over a high heat, squashing the tomatoes with a wooden spoon or the back of a fork. Reduce heat to low and cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until well reduced almost to a paste. Tip out onto a chopping board and go over it with a sharp knife so there’s no big pieces of skin. Allow to cool.
Now, pat dry the courgette fries with kitchen roll and then, in small batches, dip in a bowl of milk then toss in flour so that they’re well coated and not wet to the touch.
Heat oil (I used sunflower) in a deep heavy bottomed pan. It’s hot enough when you drop in a small piece of courgette and it immediately sizzles and floats on the surface but doesn’t burn. Again in batches drop fries into the pan and cook for a minute until nicely golden brown and crispy, dunking them now and again with a slotted spoon. Drain on kitchen paper, repeating until they’re all cooked.
While the oil is heating melt the butter in a small pan and then drop in one finely chopped garlic clove and the leaves from a sprig of thyme. Fry for a moment and then turn off the heat.
Stir your tomato paste through some good quality mayonnaise or make your own if you’re fanceh.
Put your fries in a serving dish, drizzle over your garlic butter and then grate over the parmesan to taste. Season with pepper (you shouldn’t need salt). And dip!