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Turkish cuisine provides healthy, hearty, delicious food for family and friends.
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Salads

Olive Salad with Pomegranate Molasses and Za-atar; Zeytin Ufeleme

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Here are some wonderful photos of a typical Turkish fruit and vegetable market, Pazar. Getting the fresh veg and fruit from the markets are a big part of Turkish cooking and this is our local market walking distance to my parents’ home in Istanbul. The abundance of different types of fruit and vegetables, wonderful displays of fruits, nuts, olives, cheese and spices are simply mesmerising, and the vegetables available at that time would dictate the meals of the day. Wonderful to watch the market and wonderful to pick your fruit and veg; I can spend a whole day there!

Zeytin Ufeleme – Olive Salad with vegetables, pomegranate molasses and zahtar (za’atar)

Zeytin Ufeleme – Olive Salad with vegetables, pomegranate molasses and zahtar (za’atar)

Zeytin Ufeleme – Olive Salad with vegetables, pomegranate molasses and zahtar (za’atar)

We Turks eat olives throughout the day; the Turkish breakfast starts with olive, cheese, sliced tomato and cucumber accompanied with bread. We also enjoy olives as a meze for lunch or in the evening. Olive trees are grown all across the Aegean and Mediterranean coast of Turkey, in colorful shades of black, green, brown and black; they are absolutely to die for!

This very simple yet delicious meze features my home town Antakya’s pomegranate molasses as a dressing. We would enjoy it as part of our Turkish brunch at the weekends or in the evening as a meze. To make a fruit molasses, the juice is extracted from the fruit before it is boiled and reduced to create a dark, fruity syrup. It is rich, tangy and full of flavor. Most middle eastern and specialty shops carry pomegranate molasses; here’s my home made pomegranate molasses recipe, if you’d like to make at home. If you can’t find it, you can substitute with a sharp balsamic vinegar or lemon juice.  The fresh herb zahter or za’atar, zahtar, is also commonly added to this salad in Antakya region. Fresh Zahtar looks more like summer savory, or a crossing of marjoram, oregano and thyme, and adds a wonderful, pungent flavor to the salads.

I am passionate about healthy, delicious Turkish cuisine; our recipes are packed with fresh produce, beautifully flavoured with olive oil and natural condiments, as in this lovely salad. My cookery book Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland, showcases over 90 authentic Turkish recipes like this salad, signed copies are available to order at this link, if you’d like.

Serves 4     Preparation time: 15 minutes

1/5 of an onion or 1 green (spring) onion, finely chopped
A handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

2 tbsp chopped fresh zahtar (za’atar), if available or 1 tbsp. dried za’atar
90 ml/ 6 tablespoon green and black olives, pitted
2 medium tomatoes, finely diced
45 ml/ 3 tablespoons olive oil
15 ml/1tablespoons pomegranate molasses (or balsamic vinegar)
Salt and ground black pepper

Pita bread serve

Place the diced onions in a bowl and sprinkle with a little salt. Work the salt in onions with your hands – this will soften the onions and make it more palatable. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss thoroughly.

Serve with slices of pita bread by the side.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Fasulye Piyazi – Turkish bean salad with vegetables

 

Bean salad with onions, tomatoes, olives and boiled eggs - Fasulye piyazl

Bean salad with onions, tomatoes, olives and boiled eggs – Fasulye piyazi

I love this tasty, nourishing Turkish bean salad, Fasulye Piyazi. At home, traditionally we serve fasulye piyazi with grilled meatballs, koftes. There are traditional restaurants, lokantas, at home that solely serve Turkish style meatballs, fasulye piyaz and pickled cucumber and peppers. This salad is also a great alternative for lunch, as I like to have, served with some nice crusty bread or in can be a part of a meze spread or accompany grills as a side.

I like to use both black and green olives, the Greek or Spanish olives work well if you can’t find Turkish olives.

Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table book now available for limited period!

Turkish cuisine is based on seasonal produce and very healthy; we have a wide variety of  salads (including this bean salad), hot and cold mezzes, vegetables cooked in olive oil  and they are all featured at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland; signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table available at this link, if you’d like to grab yours.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Serves 4-6
Preparation time: 10 – 15 minutes

2×400 gr/2 (14 oz) cans of precooked cannellini beans
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
3 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
45-60 ml/3-4 tablespoon olives, halved and stones removed
2 hardboiled eggs, quartered
A handful of flat leaf (Italian) parsley, chopped
5 ml/1 teaspoon salt
30 ml/ 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
5 ml/1 teaspoon ground sumac – optional-
1/2 teaspoon paprika flakes – optional –
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the cooked beans in a bowl, after draining its juice and rinsing over warm water. Work salt and sumac into the onion slices with your hands really well. This will soften the onions and make them more palatable. Add the onion, chopped tomatoes, half of the olives, parsley and paprika flakes into the bowl. Wisk together the extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice and pour over this mixture.

Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and combine well. Arrange on a serving plate and garnish with the eggs and remaining olives.

Serve immediately or refrigerate until required.

Afiyet Olsun!

Note: If you prefer to use the dried beans, you need to soak them in water overnight. Then drain the beans and put in a pan with plenty of fresh water. Cook about 60 minutes or until tender, adding salt toward the end of cooking time. Drain and set aside in a bowl, to be used in this salad.

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Smoked Eggplant Salad with Garlic Yoghurt – Patlicanli Yogurtlama

Patlicanli yogurtlama; smoked eggplant salad with garlic yoghurt and mint

Patlicanli yogurtlama; smoked eggplant salad with garlic yoghurt and mint

Another refreshing smoked eggplant salad from southern Turkey, Antakya, this time with garlic yoghurt and mint. It goes very well with grilled meats, or just with some nice crusty bread as an appetizer. If you can cook the eggplants over open fire or on stove top, eggplants get a delicious, smoky flavor.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 45 minutes

1 medium eggplant (aubergine)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
About 200 ml/ 7 fl oz/1 cup plain yoghurt
5 ml/ 1 teaspoon dried mint
15 ml/ 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Squeeze of a quarter of lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 200 C/ 400 F

Cook the eggplants (aubergines) on a barbecue grill or over and open gas flame turning occasionally by the stalks until the outer skin is charred and blistered and the inner flesh soft. (Alternatively they can be baked in a hot oven for about 45 minutes). Peel away the burnt skin and discard the stalks. Put the flesh in a colander to drain away any bitter juices. (You can prepare the eggplants this way a day in advance; squeeze lemon juice over to retain its color and keep in the fridge covered). Finely chop the flesh and set aside.

Combine the yoghurt, flesh of eggplant, garlic, salt, black pepper and the dried mint in a mixing bowl. Transfer the mixture to a serving dish, sprinkle a little more dried mint and drizzle the extra virgin olive oil over.

Afiyet Olsun!

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