Saturday, 23 August 2014

Tomato Balls with Tzatziki

Do you ever find a restaurant you like and keep going back to it? Worse, keep ordering the same dish because it was that good? 

That is exactly what happened on a recent holiday to Santorini. 

It all started with our desperation to find nearest place serving food after what seemed like the longest journey ever! This was partly due to the two sickeningly  bus rides from the airport to Oia. 

Oia, we soon realised was neither pronounced "Oi" or "Oy-aahh" as anyone who uses English as there first language would assume, but rather "Ee-aah" similar to "here" except you drop the H. 

All very confusing. Particularly when you have a slightly stressed out Greek man, who is overwhelmed by both the heat and innumerable tourists shouting, 

'Ee-ahh, ee-ahh, ladies ladies ee-ahh'

at you, insisting you hurry up because the bus is about to leave! To which we both ignorantly and innocently replied 

'But we want to go to "Oy-aah", is that "here"?'

Anyway, we eventually reached Oia. Which, just to remind you looks like this!

And that is how we discovered the most delicious tomato balls. Simplicity at its best.

On my return to London I did a little research. 

It turns out we were obsessing over an authentically, traditional Santorini dish made to show off their stunning tomatoes ( - something to do with the rich nutrients in Santorini's volcanic soil.) 

Naturally, the recipe has been somewhat lost in translation ( - I'm still working on my Greek!) But one ingredient the guy who owned this taverna stressed the importance of is dyósmo, that is spearmint to you and I.  

I managed to buy some dried dyósmo on the Island, but it should be readily available in supermarkets. If not, normal mint is a suitable substitute. Either way, this dish needs some mint - you'll notice it on your first bite, and savour it thereafter, trust me!

Tzatziki is the perfect pairing. Cool and refreshing, it is the perfect summer dip.

Tomato Balls with Tzatziki (Serves 4)

Prep time: 25 mins

For the Tomato Balls -

150g tomatoes (the ripest, sweetest
tomatoes you can find)
50g fine breadcrumbs
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp dried spearmint
1 tsp dried mixed herbs (oregano, tarragon, parsley)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 chilli

For the Tzatziki -

50g cucumber (2 inch piece of cucumber)
6 mint leaves
3 tbsp thick yoghurt

Tomato Balls

1. Cover the tomatoes in boiling hot water. Leave for 5 mins or until the skins have split. Peel the skins off and put the tomatoes into a mixing bowl.

2. Mash the tomatoes using your hands. Season well.

3. Add the dried herbs, breadcrumbs and bicarbonate of soda. Continue to mix together using your hands.

4. Form the tomato paste into 8 equal sized balls.

5. Heat the oil in a pan and add the chilli.

7. Fry the tomato balls, squashing them as they brown into flat patties.

8. Allow the patties to form a crust, turning every minute.

9. Serve warm with the tzatziki.

For the Tzatziki

1. Grate the cucumber and season with salt. Allow to sit for five minutes

2. Squeeze out all the excess moisture from the cucumber.

3. Tear up the mint and add to cucumber along with the yoghurt. Mix and season well.

// Click here to PRINT RECIPES //

I hope you feel like you are transported to Greece when you try this recipe, I know I do!

Until next time...

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