Fasoulakiakeftes (Greek Green Bean Fritters)

A variation on zucchini fritters, a classic Greek meze. The green beans are chopped very fine and combined with onion, garlic, and grated kefalotyri or other hard sheep cheese; crumbled feta is an acceptable substitute. The fritters are flavored with a mixture of herbs, which may be adjusted to include mint, dill, parsley, basil, or oregano. They are best served with a tzatziki sauce made with thick Greek yogurt.

For one dozen fritters:

  • 1/2 cup fresh white bread crumbs  
  • 1 cup finely chopped green beans  
  • 1/2 cup minced onion  
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced  
  • 1/2 cup grated Greek sheep cheese  
  • 2 tablespoons minced mint  
  • 2 tablespoons minced dill  
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne 
  • Salt to taste 
  • 1/2 cup white flour  
  • 1 egg, beaten  
  • 1/2 cup milk  
  • 6 ounces Greek yogurt  
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped  
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon  
  • 1/2 cup olive oil  

Toast the bread crumbs in an oven at 300° F. until lightly browned. Meanwhile, combine the green beans and onion and squeeze out as much water as possible through a dry kitchen towel. Combine the mixture in a bowl with the cheese, mint, dill, cumin, half the garlic, and cayenne, and salt to taste. Mix in the egg, bread crumbs, and flour. Gradually add enough milk to produce a batter, wet but not watery. Refrigerate for an hour or longer.

Greek yogurt is often thick enough for a tzatziki, but if yours is not, drain it in a sieve though a paper towel for an hour. (Domestic yogurt may be substituted, but generally requires more draining time.) Mix the yogurt with the cucumber, lemon juice, two tablespoons of olive oil, and salt to taste in a small bowl. Garnish with mint leaves and refrigerate.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a pan. Add one-ounce spoonfuls of the fritter batter, slightly flattening with the back of the spoon. Sauté over medium heat until browned on both sides and cooked through. Serve hot with the cold tzatziki.