23 June 2016
Knidos Cookery Club’s fact-finding mission to Greece continues with a look at the contribution of the tomato to local culinary culture.
It may be hard to believe, but it is only in the last two hundred years that the tomato has established itself as a key ingredient in Greek kitchens.
It’s found in the classic horiatiki salad that pairs it with cucumber, onion, green pepper, olives and feta cheese. It plays a key role in gemista, platters of vegetables stuffed with rice.
On the island of Kos the sweet local varieties of tomatoes are preserved in syrup or made into jam that makes an orange marmalade rival for a slice of toast.
In Greece the tomato is called ντοματο, pronounced with a ‘d’ sound at the beginning. Modern Greek has no single letter for the ‘d’ sound and uses the letters for ‘n’ and ‘t’ to make this sound.
This week Knidos Cookery Club is serving up tomato fritters, a close cousin of Turkey’s mücver. We’ve used plum tomatoes as they tend to be a bit less juicy than other varieties. The mix needs to find a balance between not being too dry or too wet for the fritters to hold together in the pan.
Ingredients (makes 10-12 fritters)
500 g plum tomatoes
One medium-sized red onion
Fresh herbs – small bunches of parsley, basil and mint or a teaspoon of dried parsley, basil and mint
100 g plain flour
Seasoning mix – pinches of salt and pepper, one teaspoon of cinnamon and one of cumin
Olive oil for frying
Grate the tomatoes and mix with the herbs and flour until you have a mix that is neither too dry nor too wet.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and when hot add fritters made into walnut-sized shapes and flatten with a fish slice or spatula.
Cook on both sides until golden brown in colour and serve with a sauce of natural yogurt, grated cucumber and garlic.