Fish and Bulgur Balls Stuffed with Kalamata Olives

Greeks make all sorts of fish patties, some mixed with potato, others with breadcrumbs, and others, like these, with bulgur, in a nod to the meze traditions.

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  • 2 cups bulgur
  • 1 3/4 cups hot water
  • 3 fresh cod fillets, skinned
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup snipped dill
  • fresh strained juice of 1 large lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4-6 tbs all-purpose flour


  • 1 cup finely chopped Kalamata olives
  • 1 cup seeded, diced tomato


Place the bulgur in a mixing bowl.

Pour in the hot water and let stand for about 30 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed.

Chop the cod.

Place it in the bowl of the food processor and pulse on and off until it becomes paste like.

Add the onions, dill, lemon juice, salt and pepper and pulse on and off to combine well.

Remove and set aside.

Line a colander with a double cheesecloth and empty the bulgur into it.

Gather up the edges of the cheesecloth and squeeze as much moisture as possible from the bulgur.

Place in the food processor. Pulse the bulgur on and off until pasty.

Add the fish mixture. Pulse to combine thoroughly.

Add four tablespoons of flour, season with salt and process until a dense, damp mass forms. If the mixture is too damp, add more flour and pulse to combine.

The bulgur-fish mixture will be very thick and a little sticky.

Line a small sheet pan or flat tray with parchment paper.

Combine the olives and tomatoes in a small bowl.

Have a bowl of water near by.

Dip your hands into the water then scoop up about a tablespoonful chunk of the bulgur mass.

Form it into a ball and make an indentation in the center with your thumb.

Add a half teaspoon of the olive filling to the center.

Press the ball together so that the filling is completely enclosed.

Perfect the shape so that it is a perfect ball, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter

Place on the parchment-lined tray.

Repeat with remaining ingredients until everything is used up.

Lightly cover the balls with another sheet of parchment and freeze for at least one hour, or up to one week.

Remove the bulgur balls and if completely frozen allow them to thaw for about 30 minutes. They can be slightly frozen when fried, but should not be rock hard.

In a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, heat about two inches of oil until it begins to boil but does not smoke.

Place about five of the bulgur balls in the hot oil.

The temperature of the oil will as a result of the cold addition.

Fry the bulgur balls until golden, turning so that they brown on all sides.

Remove, drain on paper towels, and serve, either hot or at room temperature.


You may add a variety of fillings of your liking to these patties. Serve them with a herbed mayonnaise.
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