Santorini. Just say it and immediately your mind turns to gorgeously sun-kissed villages, sprawling down sheer cliffs, and adorned with blue-domed churches and houses built straight into the steep cliff-side. The island is a fusion of history dating back thousands of years, and more modern charm in its beaches and towns. Stand upon the highpoint of Imerovigli, and you can see virtually the whole island spread out below – an enchanting canvas. It is a fantastically romantic place to visit.
But after you have seen the breathtaking sunset or sunrise, your mind starts to wander to what’s for dinner, as least it does if you are me! Santorini is home to a plethora of great food, from the stunning produce grown and made on the island, to restaurants which serve up great and authentically Greek foods. Today I am looking at one of my favourite dishes from Santorini: Keftedes.
Whilst not strictly from the island itself, Keftedes are best prepared with Santorini’s eponymous cherry tomatoes which are grown across the island and have a unique flavour, thanks to the rich volcanic soil and dry conditions. Try sampling local sundried tomatoes to get a real burst of flavour and see why they have become so popular! Though cherry tomatoes are a modern addition to the island (having been brought over in the 19th century) Santorini has really made these juicy little gems their own and I think this dish is one of the best ways to celebrate them. It allows the flavour of the tomatoes to really shine through.
Santorini recipe: Tomato Keftedes
- 2lbs cherry tomatoes + 2 large tomatoes
- 1/2 a courgette
- 1 onion
- 1 red or green chilli
- 1/2 a bunch of mint
- 1/2 a bunch of Basil or parsley
- 100g feta cheese
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 a cup of flour (you might need more or less flour)
- olive oil for frying
Begin by de-seeding and chopping the tomatoes. Roughly chop the onion, chilli and courgette (you blend it later so don’t chop too finely). Wash the parsley and mint, pat dry and then roughly chop.
Add the tomatoes, onion, courgette, chilli and herbs (parsley and mint) to a large mixing bowl. Break up the feta cheese and crumble it in.
Mix everything together and then pop into a blender or food processor to whizz. Pulse the mixture till it becomes like a paste. This breaks everything down and mixes it together much finer than you could by hand, though you lose some of the texture this way.
Pop it back into the mixing bowl and gradually stir in the flour till it becomes a thick paste. Leave to sit for a couple of hours covered in the fridge.
When ready to cook, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and drop in tablespoon-sized blobs of mixture, shaped into a ball or patty. Fry on both sides till golden then drain the excess oil on kitchen paper.
Serve with a little green salad and a glass of white wine to bring the sun of Santorini to your kitchen.
Russell Bowes is a travel writer for HomeAway.co.uk