Cook like a Clerkenwell chef | Courgette fritters with eggs

Our food editor, Katy Salter, has written a new cookbook for food lovers who can’t do dairy.

Here’s a brunch recipe from the book which wouldn’t look out of place served up at any of our favourite weekend hangouts in EC1…

Katy Salter’s courgette fritters with poached eggs


Serves 4 (makes about 10 fritters)


100g fine polenta
1 teaspoon (gluten-free) baking powder
half teaspoon smoked paprika
2 eggs
2 courgettes (around 400g in total), coarsely grated
1 red chilli, deseeded
and finely diced
1 spring onion (white and green part), finely sliced

6 tablespoons vegetable, sunflower or groundnut oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1 or 2 eggs per person
Hot sauce or chilli sauce


Katy says: These courgette fritters get extra crunch from being made with polenta instead of flour (which makes them gluten-free to boot). They make a fine weekend brunch, drizzled with hot sauce and topped with a poached egg…

Preheat the oven to its lowest setting. Mix together the polenta, baking powder, smoked paprika and eggs with a fork. Pat the grated courgettes dry with kitchen paper, then stir these into the mixture. Stir in the chilli and spring onion and season.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy bottomed frying pan over a medium-high heat. Once hot, spoon in heaped dessertspoonfuls of the batter and pat down gently into discs, 2 to 3 at a time so the pan doesn’t become overcrowded.

Fry for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden on the bottom, then flip over with a fish slice and cook the other side for a further 2 to 3 minutes. You may need to add a little more oil to the pan between each batch.

Keep warm in the oven on a plate lined with kitchen paper until all the fritters are cooked, layering kitchen paper between each to help soak up oil and keep them crisp.

Meanwhile, poach the eggs. There’s the proper way to make poached eggs, and the cheat’s way. Here are both:

PROPER WAY: Firstly, use a very fresh egg. Then take a tip from food writer Felicity Cloake and break the egg into a small jug, and add a drop of white wine vinegar. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, then whisk the water vigorously to create a whirlpool effect. Stop whisking, then immediately and carefully pour the egg into the centre of the whirlpool. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 3 minutes.

CHEAT’S WAY: Line a ramekin with a square of clingfilm about the size of a piece of kitchen paper. Grease with a little oil using your fingertip, then break an egg into it. Gather up the sides and twist the top to secure. Repeat for as many eggs as you need. Lower these carefully into a pan of simmering water and poach for 4 minutes.

Serve the fritters in small stacks, topped with a poached egg and perhaps a few drops of chilli sauce or your favourite hot sauce.

“Dairy – Free Delicious” by Katy Salter is out now (Quadrille)