Sunday, 1 February 2015

Tomato fritters from Santorini


These tangy fritters, domatokeftedes, made from both fresh and dried tomatoes, make a lovely meze.
Be sure to buy good-quality sun-dried tomatoes, as some mass- produced versions can have a mushy texture and a muddy flavour. On the island of Milos, cooks make a similar dish with chopped garlic added to the batter, while on other islands they add hard kefalotyri cheese. As long as your sun-dried tomatoes are not too salty, you can experiment with feta or pecorino.

100g sun-dried tomatoes, dried or preserved in oil
400g tomatoes
3 spring onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley leaves, plus more to serve
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint leaves
generous pinch dried greek oregano
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
80-90g plain flour
vegetable or olive oil, for frying
salt, to taste, if needed

If using dry tomatoes, rehydrate them in hot water for 20 minutes. If using sun- dried tomatoes in oil, drain off the oil. Deseed the fresh tomatoes, over a bowl to retain the juice. Strain off the juice and discard the seeds. Using a food processor or stick blender, briefly blitz together the juice, fresh and dried tomatoes, 2 of the spring onions, the herbs and baking powder; you don’t want a purée but a chunky batter. Next, gradually mix in the flour (you may not need it all, though you may need more if your tomatoes are very juicy). The batter should be loose, but not so sloppy that it won’t hold together at all.

Heat around 5 cm of oil in a high-sided saucepan over a medium heat, until it reaches 180ºC on a pan thermometer, or a cube of day-old bread dropped into it sizzles and browns in 30 seconds. Take a small spoonful of batter and drop into the oil. Cook for a couple of minutes, then cool and taste for seasoning. Some sun-dried tomatoes are salty but, if yours are not, add salt to taste to the remaining batter.

Drop tablespoons of batter carefully into the hot oil, two or three at a time (if the pan is crowded the oil will cool and the fritters will be greasy). Cook for 3–3½ minutes, turning if necessary, until they are cooked through and golden brown. Sprinkle with parsley and the remaining spring onion to serve.

Source: The Islands of Greece by Rebecca Seal


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