In the Cyclades, the art of gastronomy transcends mere sustenance, even while simplicity reigns supreme in culinary delights. Here, cooking becomes a creative act that celebrates the purity of flavors and the essence of local produce. From quaint seaside tavernas to fine-dining restaurants on high-profile islands, the culinary scene remains firmly rooted in tradition, while always welcoming creative reinterpretations.

Mrs. Nikoleta Foskolou, a distinguished cook from the picturesque island of Tinos, has graciously agreed to share two of her signature recipes, each a testament to Cycladic culinary craftsmanship. The first of these is for a timeless dish, fresh tomato fritters from Santorini, a symphony of flavors heightened by a delicate frying technique. The other is for stuffed sardines, a dish as rich in history as it is in taste. In the Cyclades, gastronomy isn’t merely about food – it’s a celebration of culture, tradition, and the unyielding spirit of these enchanting islands

Fresh Tomato Fritters [ Domatokeftedes ] Santorini

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes OR 3 medium, ripe tomatoes
  • 2 tsp fresh spearmint leaves, finely chopped 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 cup onions, diced
  • 1⁄2 tsp each salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp self-rising flour
  • 2 cups olive oil (for frying)

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and gently squeeze them to extract the seeds. Chop and transfer to a glass bowl. (If using the 3 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, chop and follow the same directions for deseeding. Add the spearmint leaves, oregano, diced onions, and salt and pepper.

Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

To the bowl that holds the tomato mixture, add the flour and mix well. If necessary, add a bit of water to give the mixture the consistency of a thick batter.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Lower heaping spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil, and brown evenly. Transfer fritters on absorbent kitchen paper and let stand for 5 minutes.

Arrange on a platter and serve warm.


Another version of this recipe, again from Santorini, calls for the addition of 1 grated zucchini and 1 tsp of summer savory to the 1 cup of cherry tomatoes.

Stuffed Sardines
[ Sardéles Gemistés ] Tinos

  • 1.6 lb (approx. 3⁄4 kg) fresh sardines 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1⁄2 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup olive oil, divided into two equal amounts 10-15 fresh or pickled vine leaves
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp coarse salt
  • 2 tbsp fine breadcrumbs
  • Ground black pepper

Scale, gut, and wash the sardines. On a flat surface, butterfly the fish, removing their backbone and any remaining small bones either by hand or with tweezers. Wash again, season with salt, and place on a wire rack over a drip pan to drain. * Make sure you have an even number of sardines.


Chop the tomatoes and place in a colander with a pinch of salt to drain for 10 minutes. In a medi- um-sized bowl, mix together the parsley, garlic, chopped and drained tomatoes, salt, and ground black pepper.

Δείτε Επίσης


Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Choose a round baking dish that will hold the stuffed sardines comfortably. Make a bed at the bottom of the pan with the vine leaves and pour 1⁄4 cup of the olive oil over the leaves. Arrange half of the butterflied sardines, skin side down, right next to each other on top of the vine leaves. Apportion 1 tbsp of stuffing down the length of each sardine. Cover the stuffing-topped sardines in the pan with the remaining sardines, skin side up, pressing them down lightly.

Pour the remaining 1⁄4 cup olive oil and lemon juice over the stuffed sardines. Sprinkle the coarse salt and breadcrumbs evenly over the surface. Bake for 25 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.


For the tomato fritters, it’s a good idea to go for a white wine with aromatic intensity and balanced acidity that stands up well to light frying, such as a Monemvasia of Paros, or a rosé with restrained fruitiness, good acidity, and a mouthful of flavors from varieties such as Mavrotragano, Mandilaria, or Fokiano of Naxos.

For the sardines, the lemon would naturally lead you to a fresh Cycladic Assyrtiko from Santorini, with good acidity, freshness, and flavor complexity; alternatively, you could pair them with wines made from Kydonitsa, Aidani, or a fresh-from-the-tank Vidiano.


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