Yesterday my friend brought over a couple of large courgettes from her garden. I hefted one and wondered what to do with it. I considered adding it to the risotto I was preparing, but I already had asparagus and rocket destined for that.
Then I remembered the menu at a gastro-pub I went to the other day. (This gastro pub had a decided hint of Heston Blumenthal, circa 2008, but I didn't hold that against them.) Among the starters were fried courgette batons with basil cream. I hadn't fried anything in a while, so I figured I was due an indulgence. Or ten. Because once I tasted how exquisite these bites of courgette were—battered, fried, and dipped in creamy basil sauce—I had to eat a few more. And a few more. And finally I cut up more of the humongous courgette and fried more, since I had plenty of basil cream left.
Indulgence? Zero cholesterol basil cream shouldn't be an indulgence, right? In fact, I have some cream left over, so I'm going to find something else to dunk in it. Boiled cabbage, maybe. To make up for my sins.
I used a thin batter based on pakora batter, with gram flour (chickpea flour, available at any supermarket with an Indian section) and rice flour (available at Asian markets, but be sure it's not the sweet kind). The basil cream is based on cashews, which I've raved about before.