Courgette meat balls

The vegetable garden this year has been such a disappointment. It’s the rain, and the relative cold, I expect. Why, the other night we even lit the fire, it was that winter-like. So, whereas this time last year I was happily harvesting peas & courgettes, lettuces & silver beet, this year I’m just thankful for the Sunday market. And the bag of courgettes I brought home was the inspiration for this WONDERFUL dish. It’s from Claudia Roden, who says it’s a specialty of Izmir/Smyrna in Turkey. I’ll believe her. Anyway, this is her recipe, more or less. I halved the quantities given here, and then added a bit more mince ‘cos the mix was possibly a little wet … it was touch & go whether or not the balls fell apart in the oil. Perhaps if I’d salted & drained the courgettes in advance, that might have reduced the moisture content. But it didn’t really matter, and the end result was these deliciously moist meatballs, more courgettes than mince. Highly recommended!

1 kg courgettes                         60 gms Parmesan, grated

Salt                                           2 large eggs, beaten

Oil                                            black pepper

2 onions, chopped                    flour

500 gms mince   

Fry the onions until soft & golden. Slice courgettes and boil until tender. Chop finely and mix with the meat. Add the cheese, onion, eggs, salt & pepper, and mix well. Shape the mixture into balls (a reasonably level dessert spoonful at a time worked well). Roll in flour and fry gently over a very low heat so they are well cooked inside but not over-browned outside.

          We just ate these with boiled new potatoes, Jersey Bennes, and they were delicious. Claudia also suggests aubergine for these, and I guess you could experiment with adding chopped fresh herbs, mint perhaps, or coriander. Though I’m not sure coriander is particularly Turkish! But anyway, a real winner, these.  And so uncomplicated.

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