Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Domatokeftedes (Greek tomato fritters)

DomatoWHAT? Yeah, I didn't know the Greek name for them until I looked it up. I think I'll just stick to calling them Greek tomato fritters. Almost three years ago Peter and I went to our friends Lauren and Dino's wedding in Santorini. Aside from being an unbelievable place to get married, it goes without saying that it's an amazing place to vacation. One of the days we went to Red Beach, on the very southern part of the island. In order to get to the beach you have to take a little fishing boat on a 15 minute ride around the cliffs, and then jump out in the shallow water and walk up to the beach. But right where the dock is was a little beach restaurant, the name of which I can't remember. And they had tomato fritters - little fried patties of dough and pieces of tomato, nice and salty.

I'm so happy I have a picture of them. This was before I really got into documenting meals on vacations, and it's one of only two pictures of food I took on that trip. I might as well show the other one. This was really, truly, the best breakfast ever. At the Enigma Hotel (and I'm sure most of the other hotels on the island) you get a little card in your room every night to check off what items you want for breakfast. All included with the room. Umm, why not check off every item?? Croissants, rolls, jam, hard or soft boiled eggs, salami and cheese, fruit, REAL Greek yogurt, and ahhh...Greek coffee. So good.

Back to the fritters. It seemed like they must not be too hard to make, and as it turns out - they're not! I looked at a few recipes online, and here's what I came up with:

3 medium/large tomatoes (I used beefsteak tomatoes)
1/2 white onion
1 Tbl. dried oregano
1-2 Tbl. chopped fresh parsley, plus a little more for garnish
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/8 tsp. salt
big pinch salt, pepper
canola oil and olive oil, for frying

Chop the tomatoes and onion into a small dice. Hothouse tomatoes are good because they're pretty meaty and don't have too much "guts" or seeds.

Add the oregano, parsley, salt and pepper.

Most of the recipes I saw called for self-rising flour. But I found out that you can make self-rising flour with all-purpose flour, so I did that since I already had all-purpose. 1 cup self-rising flour = 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt. I was already putting some salt into the tomato mixture, but I also measured some out and mixed it with the flour and baking powder first to get the proper effect. Mix the flour mixture with the tomatoes.

When I first read the recipes, I thought there must be a mistake because there was no liquid to mix with the flour to make dough. But I went along with it, and realized that the liquid from the tomatoes mixed with the flour makes a pasty kind of dough. It seems weird, but it works.

You can actually use 2 cups of flour instead of 1 1/2, but I wanted mine to be more tomato than dough.

Heat up the oil in a medium saucepan. I used about 75% canola oil and 25% olive oil. You can also just use all canola oil. I didn't measure it, but you'll need enough to be about 3/4 inches deep. I don't have a candy thermometer to measure how hot the oil was, but I heated it on a 5 or 6 out of 10 on my electric stove for about 5 minutes. The oil will start to swirl a bit. Test it by dropping just a little bit of the batter in. Once it's ready, just use a spoon to scoop out some dough and another spoon to scrape it off into the oil.

Let them cook for a couple minutes, depending on how big you make them. Turn them over and cook for another couple minutes. If they're not turning a golden brown color yet, let them keep going a little longer. I kept mine pretty small so they didn't take long.

Once they're done put them on a plate with a paper towel to absorb the oil, and sprinkle salt over them right away. Garnish with more fresh chopped parsley.

I served them with swordfish grilled with olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon, and capers, and grilled zucchini.

And that's it! Pretty easy, and they were really good. Nice and crispy and salty. The only thing I would change next time is not to make so much. That recipe makes probably 15-20 small fritters, so when I make them again I'll cut it in half, or maybe even a third. You could also add corn, or even black beans and change the spices to make them southwestern. But I loved them with just tomatoes. They don't look exactly like the ones we had in Greece, but pretty close. And delicious.

1 comment:

  1. now that i'm an unemployed housewife, i've been cooking a lot myself! this whole meal looked awesome. i think i'll be trying it soon. we made haddock piccata recently, which looked similar to your swordfish, and it came out very good.

    keep up the good work!