A photo inspired this dish, actually an old man holding a plate of these with a beautiful backdrop, in Santorini. These would of course traditionally be made with the finest sun filled tomatoes so unless you live in the med, try and find the best quality you can as it will make such a difference!
I’m not sure the flavour transported us to the little fishing village in the picture but it certainly brightened up our Sunday morning…….and the fact we’re having them again this weekend probably speaks for itself.
I’m excited to experiment with spices, I might sub the basil for some curry flavours and serve these with a turmeric and coconut curry later on this week, I’ll serve as a breakfast side, on top of a lamb burger, as a party snack, in salads drizzled with basil oil and at BBQ’s – so will be getting my money’s worth, flogging the life out of these little morsels for a while longer…
Tzatziki is my partner’s forte, which he normally conjures up to go alongside slow roasted lamb or in burgers with lamb patties – never really vegetarian food, but it really works with these (they were both inspired by the same place after all).
Tomato and Basil Fritters (Keftedes) Makes enough for at least 20 but easy to freeze what’s left
- 1 kg of tomatoes (use whole cherry tomatoes if you can get good ones or pomodoro, chopped finely)
- 2 brown onions, chopped fine
- 1 baby courgette, grated
- 1 lg handful of fresh basil, blended with a little olive oil or chopped fine
- 200g flour (you may need extra)
- About 1 tbsp olive oil
- Oil to deep fry, I used canola oil
If using cherry tomatoes, squeeze over a sieve to drain away most of the juice or with pomodoro tomatoes, push down into a sieve or colander to also drain away excess juice and transfer into a large bowl.
Add the onion, courgette, olive oil and basil with plenty of salt and pepper and give it a good old mix with your hands.
Add the flour, a little at a time and keep squidging and mixing until all is incorporated well.
Heat your oil to very hot in a saucepan with high sides. To test if the oil is hot enough, add a pea sized drop of mix and if it first sinks but then rises to the surface and really bubbles, it’s ready.
Use 2 tbsp to drop 1 tbsp blob of mixture into the oil, careful not to overcrowd – I did about 3 at a time. If your mix isn’t sticking together properly and separating in the oil, add a little more flour and mix in well before frying any more.
They will take about 2-3 minutes to cook through. Drain on kitchen paper and serve still warm, or keep hot in an oven until ready to eat. They are also good cold.
Tzatziki Makes about 3 cups – You will need muslin cloth for this
- 500g Greek yoghurt
- 2 Small Lebanese Cucumbers, watery seeds removed and chopped very fine
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 3 Large garlic cloves, minced
- Large handful of chopped mint
Sprinkle the chopped cucumber with a generous amount of salt and leave in a colander to drain for 30 minutes. The salt will draw the moisture out of the cucumbers.
In the meantime, prepare the yoghurt. Mix in the minced garlic, lemon juice and chopped mint with a few grinds of black pepper. Once the cucumbers are ready, add these into the yoghurt mix and give it a good stir. Season to taste.
Find a medium sized saucepan with a lid, place a sieve over the pot with a clean muslin cloth lining the sieve. A large bowl will do if you are able to cover it with something, e.g. a plate or chopping board.
Pour in the mixture, put the lid over the top and set aside in the fridge for at least 2 hours. This process will ensure the tzatziki mix is drained properly giving you a nice thick consistency, otherwise you will have a very runny result.
When ready, remove from the fridge, discard the water and scoop out the tzatziki into a bowl, serve chilled.