Turn your mezethakia into a meal
Who doesn’t enjoy a nice meal at a Greek restaurant? — if you have one around where you are living that is. Greek food though, like most ethnic food, tastes way better when it’s homemade in my opinion. These two recipes are just a couple of my favourite mezethakia or appetizers I love to order when I’m out at a Greek restaurant. But they are so easy to make and recreate in the comfort of your own home. Plus you can eat as much of it as you want at home without thinking about the cost of a second order.
I usually have the keftedakia with a garlic, lemon tahini sauce which I blend up in the food processor or I will make some tzatziki sauce. I usually make a quick one with garlic, lemon, Greek yoghurt and dill. Let me know if you guys want a more specific recipe for either one.
So let me start off with telling you a little bit about keftedakia. The recipes and some instructions are included for both below. Enjoy and please let me know what you think!!
The Greek meatball. So tasty as a meal or as an appetizer. There are several versions of these Greek meatballs but the recipe I have included is how I usually like to make them. I either grill them, pan fry or bake them. I love to make batches of them and freeze them so I have some on hand to reheat for a quick lunch. That was something an old roommate’s mom used to do. She would pack them with her every time she visited home.
I usually use bread crumbs and an egg as a binder for them but I have left out the egg at times and they still turn out great, so either or is fine. I have even used a little cornmeal in the past if I didn’t have crumbs or some bread to soak on hand. The key is not to over work the meat when you are seasoning. If you do you will get harder tougher meatballs.
What differentiates these meatballs to others is the seasoning. Basically I season the meat with fresh mint and parsley and if I have dill I will add a little fresh dill as well. I also grate a small onion and a clove of garlic too. But you can sub in onion and garlic powder if you prefer.
They can be made in a tomato based sauce as a meal to be served with pasta or rice, but I love them plain with some tzatiki sauce to dip them in or a lemon garlic tahini sauce. They can be made using your meat of choice. I prefer either beef or lamb though.
I don’t usually measure exact amounts when I cook but a trick to meatballs and tasting them for seasoning is to take a small bite size piece and just fry it up in a pan and taste it and see if you need more salt or other seasoning before cooking the whole batch.
- 1 lb. of ground meat of your choice
- 1 onion grated or tsp of powder
- 1 clove of garlic or tsp of powder
- 1⁄4-1⁄2 cup of bread crumbs (or two slices of bread soaked in water and then squeezed dry
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1⁄4 cup each of fresh mint, parsley and dill (dill is optional) chopped very finely
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp of dried oregano
- 1 tsp of olive oil
- 1 tsp each of salt and pepper
- dust lightly with flour after forming them into balls or patties (optional)
- Combine all ingredients until everything is well incorporated and form into meatballs or small patties if you are grilling them.
- Bake meatballs at 350 for approx 30 minutes or until golden and cooked through. I usually flip them once. Or you can pan fry or grill them until done.
Melitzana Sta Karvouna
The name literally means eggplant on coals. This is one of my favorite or I should say in the top ten favorite meze or Greek small plate or appetizer. I have too many favorites! Its totally delicious and super easy to make. And when you serve it, at least to people who like eggplant, there’s always ooohs and ahhhs. I like to grill mine but roasting it in the oven is just as tasty. Grilling gives it a sweet smokiness that is so deliciously unreal. Enjoy!!
- 1 whole medium sized washed eggplant and pierced with a knife or fork a few times in a couple places ( so that it doesn’t explode on you)
- 2-3 tbsp of EVOO
- 1 whole green onion/ scallion sliced finely
- 1⁄4 cup of crumbled feta cheese
- 1-2 cloves garlic
Roast whole for 40 min to an hour depending on how large your eggplant is at 350 degrees turning once half way.
Grill whole on low to medium flame for approx 15-20 minutes keeping a close eye on it and turning every few minutes. It’s ok if it gets a little charted on the outside.
While it’s roasting or grilling fry up your minced garlic in the olive oil for a couple of min and reserve (this is totally optional not just the frying but the garlic on the whole)
Once it’s cooked carefully slice in half. On each half drizzle with olive oil on its own or the garlic and olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, as well as the scallions and feta. Serve it just like that and you can spoon servings of it right out of the eggplant or just eat the whole half yourself like i do. You can eat it any which way but I love it with a side of pita bread to dip into or spread it on.