I have been eating kolokithokeftethes for many years. Trying them here and there. Some were light and some stodgy. Some had cheese and other didn’t. Some were spicy and some were bland, and although most were tasty, none were inspiring. Finally it was this summer that I came across my two favourite fritters of all time. They were crisp with a slight crunch on the outside, yet soft and light on the inside. With their minty flavour they embodied summer. Both were cooked on the island of Evia. I ate the first one in a restaurant in the tiny town of Politika, and the other was prepared by Katerina, the lovely Greek lady who introduced me to the Island’s cooking. Although we never measured any of the ingredients, she worked with precision and I was able to reconstruct her recipe quite accurately. I chose to add a hint of lemon juice and zest to the initial mixture.
- 600 g courgettes, grated
- 300g red onions, grated
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 small organic eggs
- 10 g mint leaves, chopped
- 80g fine semolina
- 50 g breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 lemon grated
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Mix salt with the grated courgettes and onions and leave them to drain in a sieve for half an hour.
- Press them in small batches between the palms of your hands to extract all the liquid before mixing them with the rest of the ingredients. You may start frying immediately but if you decide to fry them 2 to 3 hours later leave the mixture to rest in fridge. Place it in colander resting over a bowl to allow it to drain. Discard the water that accumulates in the bowl.
- Form small patties just a bit bigger than a Ping-Pong ball; heat olive oil and drop the patties one at a time in the hot oil. To ensure that the oil is hot enough, drop a piece of bread first, if it sizzles, then the oil is ready.
- Slide 5 or 6 patties in the oil and fry for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
- Lift with a slotted spoon onto kitchen paper.
- Serve warm with a bowl of tzatziki on the side.