REPUBLIC OF TURKEY MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND TOURISM

Salads

TURKISH VEGETARIAN COOKING

SALADS

TURKISH AND HORS D'OEVRES (Meze)

Turkish salads as well as being an accompaniment to the meals serve also the purpose of being appetisers or 'mezes'. The Turkish 'almost' natural drink 'Raki' is consumed with relish when there are at least forty kinds of mezes or relishes....... A dish of cigarette borek or a dish of zucchini patties 'mudgver' is a must at a 'Raki' party and all the salads you can think of must decorate a well-endowed dinner table.
Eggplants salad is the test of good cooking, although 'cooking' has the smallest role in the whole process of preparing this savory salad. It is not the cooking per se, but the messiness of it that puts off most people form preparing it. However, if you get the hang of it, it is not so bad. I usually cool the burned skin off the eggplant under the tap and I peel off and wash it away at the same time-holding the eggplant form the stem under running water. The cleaning of the burner is the other aspect of the messiness this cooking creates. But the effort is well worth the rewards of delighting people's palate. After the mashing and seasoning comes the garnishing of course. However, Turkish garnish is meant to be consumed and not discarded therefore we usually chop the parsley or fresh dill-weed to decorate the top of our salads. Ripe black olives or shiny green olives are also part of the decoration of our salads as well as part of the ingredients. Potato Puree salad for example calls for black olives and quartered hard-boiled eggs as does the white bean salad. If one wants to make a whole meal out of one of the salad all one has to do is increase the amount of eggs and olives.

The variety of greens we have at the market places of the Aegean part of the country must be mentioned here. Most of these greens are lightly boiled in salt water and mixed with vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil and for more flavoring either chopped green onions or minced garlic is added.

The greens used as salad are the following:

Aegean beans (borulce)
Wild mustard
Nettles
Dandelion
Rocket or hill mustard
Variety of lettuce