Deep-fried courgette shoestrings

Serves 6

Here I have served these irresistible little batons with simply roasted wild sea bass – but they are also lovely just on their own.

375g/12oz plain flour
250ml/8fl oz olive oil
250ml/8fl oz water
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 egg whites, whisked into stiff peaks
5 courgettes
Sea salt

Pre-heat your deep fryer to 180C/350F (or carefully warm vegetable oil in a heavy-based pan) and start making the batter. Sift the flour and place in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the oil and half the water. Whisk to combine until it is a thick, smooth batter. Add the rest of the water, paprika and a little salt, and fold in the egg whites. Store in the fridge until ready to use (the batter will sit happily for a few hours).

Now wash and dry the courgettes and cut them in half. Slice finely lengthwise and then into fine matchsticks. Place into a mixing bowl and pour a little of the batter over them. Toss together lightly with your fingertips to coat all the batons.

Fry in batches until golden-brown, then drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and serve while hot and crunchy.