Yesterday’s post with the fried calamari triggered fond memories of when I visited the island of Santorini in 1988. These photos are from deep, deep, deep in the Kalofagas photo vault and they were taken at a little fishing outlet, situated below the village of Oia. To this day, I fondly remember eating fresh caught squid that was turned into fried calamari and the now famous Santorini tomato fritters. Santorini’s tomato fritters are special as these small tomatoes are stressed into ripeness from the blazing sun, little moisture and volcanic soil. The result is the sweet, ultra-flavourful, dwarf-like Santorini tomato or “domatinia”. These little tomatoes are nearly impossible to find outside of Santorini and my challenge was to emulate as much as possible, the sweet and concentrated flavour of these “pseudo-keftedes”. I decided the best approach would be to roast some ripe cherry tomatoes under high heat with only the coaxing of olive oil, salt, pepper and a few cloves of garlic to add flavour. There are several recipes for these tomato fritters and the usual binding ingredients are self-raising flour, eggs and breadcrumbs. I’ve take a slight departure and omitted the breadcrumbs as I find them to unnecessarily blacken the fritter. Instead, I opted for a baked potato’s starch to act as the glue. As for flavourings, the usual trinity of dill, parsley and mint are the herbs of choice but this time I opted to substitute dill with fresh basil and the outcome was a pleasant surprise. Being the kind of person that likes to tweak a recipe (just a bit), I added some crumbled feta for even more flavour, some tartness to offset the sweet tomatoes and just because I love gooey, warm cheese. For anyone that’s made a vegetable fritter, you should note that the mixture (and final result) is a little softer than your usual fritter mixture. I found an ice cream scooper to be a fine way to scoop and drop each fritter into the hot oil. Your final result should be a deep red pattie that’s speckled with green herbs, crisp on the outside and and soft on the inside. Tomato Fritters (ÎÏ„Î¿Î¼Î±Ï„Î¿ÎºÎµÏ†Ï„ÎÎ´ÎµÏ‚) (makes approx. dozen patties) 1 kg. of ripe cherry tomatoes 1 bunch of scallions, chopped Approx. 1 cup of self-raising flour 1 baked potato, mashed 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil fresh ground pepper to taste 1 egg crumbled Greek feta to taste vegetable for frying
- In a roasting pan, toss your cherry tomatoes with some olive oil, salt, pepper and some cloves of garlic and roast in a preheated 450F oven for about 30-40 minutes or until they are slightly shriveled the the skins have just burst. You may also bake your potato while the oven is roasting. Allow to cool to room temperature and strain the excess liquid and reserve the roasted tomatoes in a large bowl along with the mashed potato.
- In a skillet, add some olive oil to the pan over medium heat and add your chopped scallions and saute until they have softened and translucent. Allow to cool and add to the bowl with the tomatoes.
- Add your flour, egg and herbs and black pepper mix throughly with a wooden spoon. The mixture will be soft and wet but sticky. Add more flour for binding as needed.
- Add some crumbled Feta and taste test your mixture. Adjust flavourings with herbs, pepper or with some more cheese.
- Add your vegetable oil to a large, non-stick frying pan (about 2.4 cm high) over medium high heat and drop a bit of the mixture in. When it starts to sizzle, your oil is hot enough for you to begin frying off your fritters.
- Use an ice cream scooper to drop your fritter mixture into the oil and flatten each fritter into the shape of a pattie. Fry each fritter for about 2 minutes per side and reserve on large plate or platter that’s covered in paper towel.
- Fry off in batches and reserve in a warm oven until the entire batch is ready to be served.
- Serve as part of an array of Greek mezedes with some Ouzo and ice.
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