This past summer I had the pleasure of visiting the Greek island of Sifnos for the first time. It lies in the middle of the Cyclades between Serifos, Kimolos and Antiparos and is about 80 nautical miles from Piraeus.
Sifnos is also known for it’s contribution to the sciences and the Greek literary tradition.
The island can boast a large number of Sifnians who contributed to the social development and reconstruction of the modern Greek state: politicians, teachers, religious leaders, journalists, lawyers and economists.
Sifnos is known today as a summer resort, an island of natural beauty, with its hospitable and courteous inhabitants, its white washed traditional houses, its beautiful churches and chapels, its old monasteries and its popular as well as hidden-away beaches.
For me, Sifnos also attracted me with it’s reputation of having great food, unique recipes cooked in earthenware vessels due to it’s thriving pottery industry and it’s the birthplace of Tselementes.
Today, Greece’s food philosophy is a mix combining naturally grown and seasonal foods with the best herbs and spices to create simple, fabulous dishes and the “Tselementes effect” in the creation of a class system based on food. Wealth, sophistication, and status were associated with his creations.
This juxtaposition of cooking also exists with the patrons of Greek eateries. It is quite often that one will see the everyday Greek person dining side-by-side with Greece’s rich and famous.
I witnessed this phenomenon in Sifnos. One of the first things I noticed upon arriving in Sifnos was the long row of yachts that were docked in it’s port.
One night at a taverna, I was smack in the middle of ordinary vacationing Greeks and a large table filled with the clan of one of Greece’s wealthiest families, dining side by side with their Greek common-folk (this family owns one of Athens’ soccer teams).
One such dish is Revithokeftedes or chickpea balls. Revithokefetedes can be simply described as Greek falafel. Chick peas get pulsed and mixed with herbs and spices and then deep fried to a golden perfection.
From gleaning the internet, I’ve seen revithokeftdes served up in hamburger pattie size and also in little meatball-sized format. When I was in Sifnos, all I saw were the small, meze-eat in two bites kind of Revithokeftedes.
There are two approaches to making Revithokeftdes…one is to soak the dried chick peas overnight or in a more modern and time-saving way, using perfectly acceptable canned chick peas.
Revithokeftedes are a wonderful addition to the repotoire of Greek appetizers. The mixture here is pulsed chick peas, onion, garlic, salt and pepper and chopped fresh dill.
Grab a bottle of ouzo, invited some friends, offer up some simple seafood dishes, a seasonal salad, cheeses, olives and throw in a plate of Revitokeftedes.
500 gr. can of chickpeas
(rinsed and drained)
2 small onions, chopped
1 clove of garlic
1 bunch of fresh parsley leaves
4 Tbsp. of chopped fresh dill
salt and pepper
sunflower oil for frying
flour for dredging
- Into your food processor, add the chickpeas, onions, garlic, parsley, dill and egg and pulse until a smooth paste. Add some salt and pepper to taste. If the mixture is too wet, add some bread crumbs to tighten the mixture.
- Form the mixture into small meatballs and reserve on a plate. Place in the fridge to set for at least an hour.
- When you’re ready to fry, bring the revithokeftedes back to room temperature and dredge in flour.
- Pour about 3/4 inch of sunflower oil into a frying pan and shallow fry your Revithokeftedes until golden brown. Blot on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
- Serve immediately as part of an array of Greek appetizers (meze).
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