A few years ago, Matt and I took a trip to Greece. It was filled with natural beauty, history and of course, lots of food and olive oil. We visited Crete and Santorini and then went on to Athens where we spent our last 5 nights. In the middle of our Athens stay, we made the last-minute decision to do an overnight in Istanbul. We took a short flight from Athens early one morning and set off for a “24-hour taste” of Turkey. In the end, what the entire trip did was make us realize going back to Greece (and Turkey) is a must. Of all the places we have been, it is still one of our very favorite trips.
It is hard to beat the azure waters of Aegean Sea, the sun, and the overall beauty of Greece. The stuffed squash blossoms, stuffed grape leaves, lamb, octopus, the tiny Santorini tomatoes and the local Assyrtiko white wine were the icing on cake. Greek and Turkish food is an exotic blend of east and west. If you are at all familiar with O’Live A Little and my past recipes/blog posts, you may recall seeing Middle Eastern info and recipes. As my husband is half Lebanese, I was introduced to this wonderful cuisine thirty-five years ago when we met. So, visiting Greece and Turkey was like coming home. The foods of these countries share many similarities to Lebanese cuisine.
One of the recipes I came home with was Santorini Tomato Patties. I now make them every summer when tomatoes are fresh and delicious. Santorini is known for its little tomatoes that are power packs of flavor. It seems the volcanic terrain and super-hot sun work in tandem to give the tomatoes their specialness. All over the island restaurants include them on their menus. And, although we can’t get Santorini Tomatoes in the USA, this recipe is still delicious when farm fresh tomatoes are used.
These tomato patties can be used as a main course or as an appetizer. They are meatless, so they make a perfect meal for vegetarians. Even for carnivores the patties are substantial enough that meat will not be missed. But, just as a suggestion, they are excellent with lamb. I will make the tomato patties and grill up lamb loin chops to pair with them.
The side dish that is a must with these Santorini tomato patties is Tzaziki Spread. This ultimate Greek condiment is a mixture of yogurt, cucumbers, and garlic. What does Tzaziki go with? Uhh… just about everything. The cool, fresh flavor compliments beef, lamb, chicken, fish, eggs, and most vegetables. It is super easy to make. The only mistake you could encounter is not making enough of it!
Whether you make Santorini Tomato Patties as an appetizer or an entrée, I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
Santorini Tomato Patties
Appetizer or Entree
This recipe calls for Panko Breadcrumbs. If you are gluten free, substitute gluten free breadcrumbs, they work just as well. Also, the skins need to be removed from the tomatoes.
I do not call for submerging the tomatoes in hot water to remove the skin because doing so starts to break down the tomato. Instead, once the tomatoes are sliced, using a serrated knife, going along the very edge of each round, slice the peel off in sections leaving as much flesh as possible (see picture below). This step is very easy and only takes a few minutes at most. Just don’t skip it. If you do, the breadcrumbs won’t stick to the tomatoes along the edges. The flesh needs to be exposed for this to happen. Also, as called for, using a serrated or tomato knife is the way to go.
Also, technally, these are not "fritters" as a fritter is usually a batter that is deep fried.
3 tablespoons sundried chopped fine
2 cups crumbed feta cheese
¼ cup red onion chopped fine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon dried Greek Mountian Oregano
2-3 tablespoons O’Live A Little’s Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3-4 large farm fresh tomatoes
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
2 eggs, beaten
O’Live A Little’s Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for sauting)
For the Filling:
For the Patties
Mix the Filling:
Mix all the ingredients for the filling together. Ensure that all is incorporated and holds together. If the mixture seems a bit dry, add more olive oil, 1 teaspoon at a time until the mixture holds together.
Create the Patties
Using a serrated knife, slice tomatoes into approximatly ½” slices. Discard ends of tomatoes (use in salad, soup or saute). Each patty will use two slices.
Number of slices, depends on the size of tomatoes. I usually get three to four slices per tomato. Adjust number of tomatoes needed depending on size.
Still using the serrated knife, going around the edge of the tomotoes, slice off just the skin around the edges.
Doing this step allows the egg and breadcrumbs to stick to the tomato flesh.
On top of each patty, place approx. ¼ - ½ cup of feta cheese mixture. Continue until all feta mixture is placed on top of tomatoes. (If there is feta mixture left over, it is delish on a salad or served over green beans, or added into ground meat for a greek style burger).
Place another tomato slice on top of the feta mixture and first tomato slice
Breadcrumbs & Frying
Place beaten eggs and panko mixed with the cracked pepper in seperate low bowls or plates
Place each tomato patty indvidually in the egg mixture and coat in its entirety with egg, then…
Place each tomato patty into the panko and pepper and coat in its entirety.
Place each fully coated patty on a platter, and contiue until all patties are coated.
While coating the patties, in a 10”-12” fry pan, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom to about ½”. Heat to med high - high.
Once all the patties are coated and the oil is heated, carefully add them, one at time into the oil. Do not crowed, as you don’t what them to steam, you want them to crisp up. Fry in two batches if necessary.
Saute in oil for approx. 10-12 mintues, fliping them once they begin to turn golden underneath. Contine to flip to ensure they are dark golden on top and bottom and on sides.
If sides are not totally browning, stand patties on edge and / or with spatula push the hot oil up to edges. Add a bit more olive oil if necessary.
When dark golden place on papertowels to drain.
Serve immeditaly with Tazaki Sauce.
The patties can be keep warm in oven set at approx. 250 degrees until ready to serve. Place them on a wire rack on top of a sheet pan to prevent bottoms from getting soggy.