Me and Sam went to Zakynthos for our honeymoon, and the food and the hospitality were brilliant. We went to one traditional little taverna recommended to us and there were absolutely no vegetarian mains! So we ordered a couple of starters to share, and honestly, the food was amazing! These kolokythokeftedes (don’t worry I can’t pronounce it either) are fried balls of grated courgette (zucchini), and have a lovely subtle flavour and the most wonderful texture. When we got back to England I promised Sam I would make them and have only got round to it this evening (4 months later). I have had a look at a few different recipes and this is my version, served with baked goats cheese, olives and rocket. It takes a while to prepare, so give yourself an hour and a half.
You will need: 3 courgettes, 1 tomato, 1 small onion, 1 small carrot, 1 slice bread (turned into breadcrumbs), 1 egg, 100g plain flour, mixed herbs, salt, pepper, a handful of black olives, 100g goats cheese, olive oil (for frying), rocket and balsamic vinegar.
First of all place a large colander in a mixing bowl. Peel your carrot and courgettes and grate these into the colander. Then dice your tomato and onion and add these to your colander. Now, I should have warned you, this is a messy recipe, make sure you have an apron on! Start to squish all the ingredients together in the colander over the bowl, squeezing all the excess water out of the veggies with your fists. Throw away the liquid from the bowl and then place everything from the colander into your bowl. Now break your egg into the bowl and massage it into the veggie mix. These traditionally have feta in but we didn’t have any in, so if you want to and you are more organised than myself crumble in about 75g. Add your breadcrumbs and then slowly add your flour while still squidging the mixture together with your hands. Add two good pinches of mixed herbs, a pinch of salt and pepper and keep mixing it with your hands until it forms a thick paste. Don’t worry, it does look a bit gross at the moment but it is delicious!
Put your bowl in the fridge and leave for about an hour. After your hour preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Chop your goats cheese into chunks, drizzle olive oil on a baking tray and pop in the oven.
Cover the bottom of a big frying pan in olive oil and turn your hob onto a full heat. With your hands divide the mixture in your bowl into small balls and shape them. Place them in the hot oil and fry each side for about 6 minutes, until they are golden brown and crispy on both sides.
Slice your olives and place a big handful of rocket and the sliced olives on each plate, then drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Take the fried kolokythokeftedes out of the pan and pat them on some kitchen roll to take the excess oil off. Place them on the rocket and take the goats cheese out of the oven. Sprinkle the cooked goats cheese on top of everything and that’s it!
These make a nice starter if you are having a Greek main, but I think they are great as a healthy main meal. This is one of my favourite dishes we had in Greece and I hope you enjoy them as much as we did! It really is worth the effort.
Enjoy, Love Mrs Gardom