Greek Cheesy Potato Fritters
the summer is finally here
At last, after relatively cool first weeks, this June became a summer month! The first days of the month were often full of heavy clouds and sudden, tropical thunderstorms. Some of those days the temperature was way below the season average, reaching only up to 24C/75F, having us wondering when the summer will finally visit Greece! Pretty frustrating, right?
Well, this week the situation changed dramatically. We got temperatures up to 45C/113F(!) and people run to the beaches. Across Greece, all destinations by the sea were packed. We couldn't decide if it would be better to stay indoors with the A/C or go to an Athenian beach and face the traffic and the crowd :)
Anyway; before this heatwave, visiting our family’s garden in Evia, we knew that the summer was just around the corner, as the tomatoes kept growing, the cucumbers and zucchini were ripe and delicious, the apricots were sweet and ready to picked, just as the deep purple plums and the dark red cherry plums.
the joy of picking produce from the garden
It is such a joy to be in the garden early in the morning on a warm summer day. You get to pick your fresh veggies and fruits when they’re still cool from the night dew. You should see the smiles on our faces, walking up and down the garden with wooden baskets on our hands, ready to be filled with fresh, organic produce. Our heads were exploding with cooking ideas while picking the veggies and the fruits! Thank God, there was a lot of produce so we didn’t have to compromise on how to cook them:)
After deciding how to use the vegetables and the fruits, we usually go for a quick swim on a beach nearby and then we get started: chopping, peeling, grating, preheating the oven, picking up spices and herbs…you get the idea:) A culinary frenzy takes place in a kitchen filled with colors, aromas and flavors.
After all, cooking real food, created with quality produce, love and imagination are what really counts, and sitting down to enjoy a meal with loved ones is the epitome of what cooking is about. It doesn’t need to be fancy or gourmet: a simple, hearty dish with flavors and aromas is enough to make everyone smile.
During the summer, we use fewer recipes with meat and we focus on the vegetarian aspect of the traditional Greek cuisine. This means that Horiatiki, zucchini fritters, gemista stuffed veggies and tzatziki are often on the table, with some crusty fresh bread and feta cheese on the side. Simpler, lighter recipes are perfect for the hot summer days, right?
making cheesy potato fritters
One of our favorite recipes we often use in the summer is made with potatoes. Everyone loves potato fritters, right? These fritters are vegetarian, for those eating eggs (ovo-vegetarians), they include Kefalotyri cheese, which melts during frying and they have a wonderful aroma from the fresh mint. It’s a Greek recipe you really have to try out. Yes, we know. Kefalotyri is hard to find if you’re not in Greece. That being said, you can also make this recipe using Pecorino Romano or Parmesan that are more widely available. The result is, of course, a bit different, as Kefalotyri is a hard goat cheese with a unique flavor, but it’s equally delicious.
This is definitely one of the best potato recipes you can use if you’re having people over. Throw a salad on the side and some tzatziki and everyone will be happy and ask for seconds. You can serve them as an appetizer or as a main, depending on the crowd. One thing is for sure: kids will love this!
The method for making these fritters is simple: you peel and chop the potatoes into chunks, boil them, mash them, and mix them with the rest of the ingredients. Then you simply fry them, using one tablespoon per fritter and serve them. That’s it!
This recipe is for 6-8 portions if it’s served as an appetizer or 2-4 as a main dish. You can adjust the mint flavor by adding more or fewer leaves, but in our humble opinion, about 10 are necessary. You can also add more cheese if you want them more soft and gooey. Another version you can try is with fresh dill and young onions: super yummy as well! The possibilities are endless: you can change this recipe and use your favorite spices and ingredients. Having new ideas already? Let us know in the comments, we'd love to hear from you!
So let’s see how to make potato fritters that are golden on the outside and creamy on the inside!
- 1 kg / 2 lb (3 large) potatoes, peeled and diced in 3cm/1in chunks*
- 2 medium sized eggs
- 100 g / 3.5 oz (1 cup) Kefalotyri or Pecorino Romano or Parmesan, finely grated
- 40 g / 1.4 oz (5 tablespoons) flour, all-purpose
- 4 g / 0.15 oz (1 teaspoon) baking powder
- 6 g / 0.20 oz (10-12 leaves) fresh mint, finely chopped
- 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
- salt, pepper
- sunflower or other high smoke point vegetable oil, for frying
*prefer Russet, Yukon Gold or White potatoes
Place the potatoes in a medium sized pot (pic. 1) and cover with water (pic. 2), adding a teaspoon of salt as well. Place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. The potatoes are ready when they’re easy to pierce with a fork and are getting rounder on their corners.
Drain in a colander (pic. 3). Don’t rinse. Let them sit for 5-10 minutes, to cool. Return the potatoes to the same pot and using a potato masher (or a heavy ladle), mash the potatoes (pic. 4).
Add the flour, the baking powder (pic. 5) and the garlic (pic. 6).
Add the mint, salt and pepper (pic. 7) and the eggs (pic. 8).
Mix well to incorporate (pic. 9) and add the cheese (pic. 10). Give the mixture a final stir.
Place a heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat and pour in sunflower oil to a depth of 2.5cm / 1in.
Once hot, using two tablespoons drop about a tablespoon of mixture into the pan at a time (pic. 11). Don’t overcrowd your pan; add a few tablespoons, but leave some space between the fritters. Their shape will of course vary, that’s the beauty of these. Fry until golden brown, then flip and fry the other side as well (pic. 12). Be careful: it takes less than a minute to fry each side! Fry in batches until you use all the mixture.
With a slotted spoon remove each fritter and place in a kitchen towel to drain the excess oil.
1. As mentioned, you can also use Pecorino Romano or Parmesan if you can’t find Kefalotyri.
2. You can replace the mint with fresh dill and finely sliced young onions for a different but equally delicious flavor.
3. These are awesome in sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs as well!
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