Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ezme - A Turkish Salad/Relish

Last Sunday I was out to lunch, a blogger affair with simply splendiferous, cook sister and 5am foodie, the theme being Ottoman. Turkish sort of thing, lots of bowls of bits we all contribute and, before the off, hope they'll meld together into something approaching lunch. Wowie zowie, that plan certainly succeeded! Between us we conjured a veritable jewelled feast - tiny lamb kofte, deeply spiced baba ghanoush, glorious pickled courgettes, cracked wheat salad, gorgeous bread, spiced white bean dip and, for my try something new contribution, a Turkish salad called Ezme.

I'd googled Turksih food, as you do, and came up with lots of fascinating reading and plenty of tempting offerings. I wanted something interesting that I could make Sunday morning and then transport easily on the 155. The idea of this salad really appealed - I had some deeply scented tomatoes I brought back from a farm shop in Devon last week that I wanted a good use for and I liked the freshness and textures involved. And I figured it would be oh so prettty. It was.

Easier than pie this little delight worked a treat as part of our meze but would would be lovely at a barbecue or stuffed into pitta with some hummus and perhaps a falafel. Keeps well in the fridge for a day or two, an added bonus.

You can alter the level of spiciness if you don't like it too hot but remeber the chilli is balanced by the acid from the tomatoes and the sweetness of the peppers

4 medium-sized tomatoes, skins removed (it is important that you use the tastiest tomatoes you can find; their looks are irrelevant as they will be chopped. You can vary the number according to the size of fruit you use)
4 spring onions (again, aim for the sharpest-flavoured you can locate. A fresh red onion can also be used)
1 red pepper (yes, as above)
1 chilli pepper (hot, hot, hot!)
juice of half a lemon
olive oil
small bunch flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper

1 tablespoon chilli paste or 1 teaspoon chilli powder (especially useful if you do not have access to hot chilli peppers.)
1 teaspoon Turkish pomegranate syrup (if you don’t have any to hand, any other sweet sauce made from red sour fruits can be used to similar effect, e.g. redcurrant jam)
1-3 cloves garlic

Take the tomatoes and peeled onions and chop them as finely as possible, taking care to preserve the tomato juice. Do the same with the peppers and parsley, the finer the better.

Then, place everything in a bowl and add the other ingredients, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, and let it sit for at least an hour, so the flavours can intermingle freely. 

 I can see this being a treat all summer long!


Ailbhe said...

And it was fantastic! Glad you've given the recipe because it's perfect BBQ dish and works so well with simple grilled dishes. Loved seeing you guys. Also want the white bean hummus recipe x

bron said...

Really enjoyed the whole day - waddled home!

Glad you liked this - made it yesterday to go with souvlaki, a definite yes.

White bean paste is easy - soak and cook 250-300g butter beans or similar till soft, then blitz with 4 cloves garlic, tablespoon cumin, pinch of smoked paprika, a third of a cup of olive oil and same of lemon. Add some cooking water if you need to till you get the consistency you desire.

Serve in a pretty bowl topped with sumac!