If you ask Michael, I was trying to win over his family before I even met them - I asked him to procure his mother's recipes for lemony Greek potatoes without realising that his mum is famous in the Chrisoulaki family for her 'patatas' (evil genius, I know). I'd like to say I didn't need food to bond with Fotinoula, but hey, it all helps when you're a nervous non-Greek, and I've been helping out a little in the kitchen ever since my first trip down to Tasmania. Whenever the baby of the family (that would be Michael) is back in the family home, we're greeted by a pot stuffed with layers of tender dolmades (made with vine leaves straight from the garden), a tray of Michael's favourite custardy dessert, galaktoboureko, and a platter full of these more-ish meaty mouthfuls. I'm not even a big meat lover, but these things are incredible AND they're magically even better when they're cold. So when we were there in October, I asked if I could help Fotini make some, so that once back in L.A. we could enjoy a little taste of Tassie. She shyly obliged me with this easy, delicious recipe (home grown herbs, optional). If you're avoiding bread, simply omit!
KEFTEDES (Greek Rissoles)
1/2 kilo of beef mince (US translation: 1 pound ground beef)
One large onion, grated
4-6 slices of stale bread, soaked in water and then squeezed dry and shredded
1 tbsp tomato paste
Handful of fresh mint
Handful of fresh parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1 large clove of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp of olive oil, plus extra for pan
Mix all the ingredients together, kneading them to form a ball Leave this covered in a bowl overnight.
Form into small patties, and heat some olive oil in a frying pan. Fry for approximately two minutes each side, depending on the thickness of your rissoles. When they're done, place them on a plate lined with paper towel. Eat hot or cold. Opa!