Santorini Tomato Fritters and their Recipe

Yes, I know, this is not a cooking or recipe page, but because of the many requests we received we have decided to lift the secret: Today you will learn how to prepare the most traditional dish of the island – Santorini tomato fritters or in Greek Tomatokeftedes.

Yes, I know, this is not a cooking or recipe page, but because of the many requests we received we have decided to lift the secret: Today you will learn how to prepare the most traditional dish of the island – Santorini tomato fritters or in Greek Tomatokeftedes.

They are our guest's favorites in every cooking class and during the times of no traveling, you can even learn how to make Santorini Tomato Fritter from home.

The island is rich in cherry tomatoes, the small local kind, very tasty and full of flavors. They are the main ingredient of our Santorini Tomato fritters but since you are not living on the island you can, of course, use other tomatoes as well.

Here is what you need to prepare the Santorini Tomato Fritters

Santorini Tomato Fritters and their Recipe

  • 2 cups of finely chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of grated red onion
  • 2 tbsp of finely chopped fresh basil
  • 4 tbsp of finely chopped fresh spearmint
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • vegetable oil for frying

And here is what you have to do:

Santorini Tomato Fritters and their Recipe

In a large bowl knead the tomatoes, onions, herbs, salt and pepper. Do it by hand to make sure all the juice leaves the tomato. Maria, the charming chef of our cooking class at Faros Market calls it "massage".

Santorini Tomato Fritters and their Recipe

Add the flour to the mixture, do it slowly and mix well. If necessary add some more flour to get the consistency of a thick batter.

Santorini Tomato Fritters and their Recipe

(The locals leave the batter in the fridge for at least one day so it becomes even tastier!)

Heat enough oil in a deep pan to cover the bottom, it has to be very hot

Santorini Tomato Fritters and their Recipe

Drop a tablespoon of the mixture in the pan and repeat until the pan is filled

Santorini Tomato Fritters and their Recipe

Fry on both sides until the fritters are of a nice golden color
After removing let them drain on a paper towel

Santorini Tomato Fritters and their Recipe

This is the basic recipe of the Santorini Tomato Fritter, just as the locals prepared it back in the days. Now, if you like to add some other herbs like dill or parsley, or other flavors like chili peppers – this would be up to you and your tastes and liking.

Santorini Tomato Fritters and their Recipe

Kali Orexi! Enjoy your meal!

But if you prefer to take a gustatory trip to the volcanic island and meet with a local cook in a live Santorini virtual cooking class, we got you covered as well.

Live Santorini Virtual Cooking Class Experience

The history of Santorini cherry tomatoes

It is assumed that the delicious Santorini cherry tomato was brought to Santorini island between 1875 and 1880. There are two versions that tell how she found her way:

The first story states that Catholic monks brought the tomato seeds from Italy and the second version is that they were brought from the Suez region, where the pumice of Santorini was exported to build the canal.

Santorini Tomato Fritters and their Recipe

The first cherry tomato fields in Santorini were planted on the slopes of Mount Prophet Elijah. At that time, the tomatoes were brought to the north of the island on foot or with donkeys. Today's Oia back then was called Pano Meria, where the crop was sold to rich captains and shipowners.

Soon the local processing of Santorini cherry tomatoes began, they were dried in the sun or processed into tomato paste. This led to commercial use and the islanders exported the tomato products together with the local wines. A big advantage was that the tomato harvest did not take place in the same month as the vintage. Therefore, the farmers could look after both products equally.

Santorini Tomato Fritters and their Recipe

The high demand quickly led to the necessity of industrialization, and by 1949 in Santorini, nine cherry tomato-processing factories were built and commissioned. Today, these factories are no longer working but the former Nomikos factory in Vlychada has been converted into a tomato museum and you can see how the organized processing took place.

When the earth trembled on June 9th, 1956, the Santorini cherry tomato was the one saving the lives of many of the island's inhabitants. Although it was only 5:12 am in the morning, most farmers were already out of the house to work on the tomato fields before the sunrise and the heat would make working more difficult. 

Santorini Tomato Fritters and their Recipe

Nowadays only the Santorini Product Association Santo Wines and some local families still cultivate and process the tomatoes, but the most important is that this little, tasty Santorini cherry tomato was approved as PDO – Protected Designation of Origin with the name “Tomato Santorini's”.

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