Not sure I went for these as my track record on fritters is not great: they are always well done on the outside, sloppy in the middle and fall to bits. I don't like cardamom that much either as I find its perfumed taste tends to dominate. However...
Makes 12 fritters to serve 4, or 24 smaller fritters to serve eight as a snack
Credit: Jonathan Lovekin
For the fritters
3 medium courgettes, trimmed and coarsely grated (580g)
2 small shallots, finely chopped (50g)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Finely grated zest of two limes
60g self-raising flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 1/2 tsp cardamom
150g manouri (or halloumi or feta) roughly broken into 1-2cm chunks
150ml sunflower oil for frying
coarse salt salt and black pepper
Lime and Cardamom Soured Cream
200ml soured cream
5g coriander, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
1 Mix together all the ingredients for the soured cream sauce in a small bowl, along with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a grind of black pepper. Set aside in the fridge until ready to serve.
2 Place the grated courgettes in a colander and sprinkle over 1 teaspoon of salt. Set aside for 10 minutes, then squeeze them to remove most of the liquid: you want the courgettes to keep a little bit of moisture, so don't squeeze them completely dry. Transfer to a large bowl and add the shallots, garlic, lime zest, flour, eggs, ground coriander, cardamom and a grind of black pepper. Mix well to form a uniform batter, then fold in the manouri cheese gently so it doesn't break up too much.
3 Pour enough oil into a large frying pan so it rises 2-3mm up the sides and place on a medium heat. Once hot, add 4 separate dessertspoons of mixture to the pan, spacing them well apart and flanttening each fritter slightly with the flat side of a slotted spoon as they cook. Cook for six minutes, turning once halfway through, until golden and crisp on both sides. Transfer to a kitchen-paper lined plate and keep somewhere warm while you continue with the reamining two batches. Place 3 fritters on each plate and serve at once, with the sauce alongside in a bowl or on the side.
So, how was it? I used halloumi rather than manouri which worked well, but the fritters were the first I'd ever made that came out looking like the way they were supposed to. The only difference was that Ottolenghi made quenelles, which he considers "quite cheffy". Flat cakes were, admittedly, much easier and with my track record, easy was key. They have gentle flavour of courgette and cheese underscored by the aromatic cardamom which enhanced rather took over. It's a surprisingly filling dish, so there were leftovers, which tasted just as good the next day.