WednesdayFiled under Features, Out of Istanbul
They weren’t easy to spot at first: tiny green shoots with reddish roots, scarcely an inch high, poking out of the mud along the banks of a brackish stream near the Aegean town of Alaçatı. From these unpromising beginnings come a dish known to nearly every patron of a Turkish meyhane: nutrient-rich deniz börülcesi (samphire), typically served boiled and dressed with olive oil, lemon, and garlic.
The simple word ot, which translates to “herb” or “weed,” doesn’t do justice to the important – and delicious – role these wild greens play in the cuisine of Turkey’s Aegean region. Though most commonly served as zeytinyağlılar, dishes “with olive oil” like the classic deniz börülcesi salad, their versatility was on full display at the recent Alaçatı Ot Festivali, an annual celebration of all things leafy and green.
Stands set up at the entrance to town were piled high with homemade ot-themed eats, from ısırgan (nettle) bread to kekik (thyme) honey, zeytinyağlı radika (chicory with olive oil) to mallow-flower jam.
Read the rest of this feature at Culinary Backstreets.
All entries filed under Out of Istanbul
no responses - Posted 02.10.16
A fresh walnut is completely different from the type found in a package on a supermarket shelf. The nut is pale and soft, the flavor light and creamy, with not a trace of bitterness. It almost melts in your mouth. Rarely is it possible to eat just one. I can ...continue
no responses - Posted 01.03.16
My wife, Kurdish in-laws and I are enjoying an early meal at Gabo, one of Diyarbakır’s most successful new restaurants. It gets dark early this time of year in the city, and the dry air carries the ayaz chill, which engenders a need for a hearty soup and hot tea. ...continue
1 response - Posted 12.07.15
On the western coast of Turkey, the town of Alaçatı sways to the light of a thousand glowing cafés. What was once a typically beautiful and sleepy Turkish fishing village has transformed into a hub for glitzy nightlife. People swarm the seaside walkways to see and be seen, arriving in ...continue
no responses - Posted 11.24.15
Şehzade Erzurum Cağ Kebabı is one of our favorite places in Istanbul for a satisfying, lamby meal. You could easily walk past its handful of outdoor tables, tucked into a bustling pedestrian-only shopping street in the Sirkeci neighborhood. But if you stay, proprietor and head grill master Özcan Yıldırım will make ...continue
no responses - Posted 10.28.15
Forty-five minutes south of Çannakale, a small but flourishing ferry port sits outside of the town of Geyikli. Nestled between olive groves and farms lies the main access point to the small island of Bozcaada. Until the late 1990s, Bozcaada was disputed territory between Turkey and Greece, isolating the island ...continue
no responses - Posted 07.29.15
Along the southwestern coast of Turkey, the vibrant blue waters of the Mediterranean crash against dry, rocky mountains jutting from the water’s edge. For centuries, pilgrims and adventurers alike have scrabbled over the unforgiving terrain between Fethiye and Antalya known as the Lycian Way. Ruins dating back to Greek and Roman ...continue
no responses - Posted 06.09.15
For the past 24 years, Cemil Tuncay has wheeled his small metal cart to the biweekly produce pazar in Edirne. He sets up shop around noon, lighting coals under what can be described as massive, torpedo-shaped sausages. Kokoreç is a simple fast food made from bits of sheep leftover from butchering, ...continue
no responses - Posted 04.13.15
Dear Culinary Backstreets, I'm planning to visit Cappadocia this summer, and while I have my sightseeing and walking itinerary all lined up, I would love to know where I can find the best places to eat in the region. Can you help? Cappadocia suffers from what I’d call Sultanahmet Syndrome, which means ...continue
no responses - Posted 04.06.15
The city of Edirne sits on the borders of Bulgaria and Greece in the far northwestern and European portion of Turkey. Once the capital of the Ottoman Empire, Edirne has been occupied for thousands of years, dating back to the Romans and Thracians before them. While no longer the seat ...continue
no responses - Posted 03.26.15
The Yaveş Gari Bodrum chapter of the international Slow Food movement organized the first Slow Cheese Festival of Turkey, which took place March 5 to 8 this year. We were lucky enough to experience it for ourselves. Local food cultures and small-scale food producers everywhere are at risk of disappearing due ...continue