There are lots of things I associate with the arrival of warmer weather each year – blue skies streaked with vapour trails, swallows and eagles, flowers and new green leaves, but mostly fruit and vegetables. It’s goodbye to the steady winter diet of pumpkin, apples, pears and clementines, and hello to berries, stone fruits and luscious, plump red tomatoes that have ripened in the warmth of the sun.
Santorini tomatoes are not readily available everywhere, but any good, sun-ripened tomato will do for these fritters. With their crisp exterior and soft, fluffy interior, they are an amazingly good vehicle for that rich, summery taste.
This recipe has been adapted bit by bit as I have prepared it numerous times before arriving here, from the recipe blogged at the (sadly, now defunct) Greek vegetarian.
Makes 12 – 15 fritters (depending on size)
Preparation: 30 minutes (including deseeding the tomatoes)
Cooking: 15 – 20 minutes (in batches)
500g (18 oz) ripe tomatoes, deseeded and finely diced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
salt and pepper to taste
1 large egg, lightly beaten
125g (1 cup, spooned & scraped) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 tsp baking powder
olive oil for frying
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet on medium and cook the onion until translucent, about 3 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant but not browned.
Add the chopped tomatoes and cook over medium-high heat until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool a little.
Transfer the tomato mixture to a large bowl, add tomato paste, parsley, mint and season well with salt and pepper.
Add the egg and stir to combine.
Whisk together the flour and baking powder, then add to the tomato mixture until it forms a thick batter.
Pour about 1/2cm (1/5″) of olive oil into the skillet and heat until shimmering, then reduce heat to medium-low.
Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil and fry on both sides until well browned, about 2 minutes per side.
Drain excess oil for a few minutes on paper towels and serve hot with Tzatziki or plain Greek yoghurt.