A standard element among the salads and mezze that open up many a meal at Israeli restaurants, Turkish salad is a spiced relish that pairs well with tahini and can be scooped up with a pita. It's easy to make and a flavorful and very Israeli addition to your opening spread,Yum
Turkish salad, or what is so called in Israel, is omnipresent among the meal's opening salad spread. (I gather, i.e. from the Internet, that Turks tend to call their version of what is often called Israeli salad, understandably, Turkish salad.) I realize that it's anathema to Americans to call anything cooked a salad, except maybe the chicken on top of it (leave it to America to do that to salad) and maybe the occasional roasted beet. But in Israel, and many other places, "salad" is a more wide-ranging term, encompassing many raw and cooked vegetable dishes, maybe because vegetables go in everything (hurrah) and a catch-all "vegetable dish" category just doesn't fly. Truth to tell, I never paid much attention to Turkish salad, not being overly fond of cooked tomatoes and peppers. But then one day I realized that I had an incurable nostalgia for it and needed to make it right away, which opened the door to rediscovery and renewed appreciation.
Like many a Levantine and Maghrebi sauce, Turkish salad begins with cooking down onions, garlic, tomatoes, and peppers. (This is also the basic idea behind matbucha, harissa, filfel chuma, and shakshuka.) What makes it Turkish? Plenty of fresh parsley and cilantro, plus the cumin. If you like a hot kick, you can add some harissa or filfel chuma to the salad. You can cook it down to a paste-like consistency, like I have, or leave it a little looser, as many restaurants do. You'll want to cool the salad to room temperature, or chill it in the refrigerator, before serving.
A wonderful dip for all sorts of bread, including but not limited to pita, laffa, and challah, Turkish salad also gets along great with prepared tahini and any other dips and salads you have to put out as an opening spread.
Turkish Salad (parve)
- 4 tsp olive oil - 40 ml
- 1 medium onion - finely chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes - finely diced
- ½ red bell pepper - finely diced
- 1 clove garlic - minced
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste - 100 g
- ¼ cup water - 60 ml
- ½ Tbsp sugar - 15 g
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp harissa - optional, 40 g
- ½ Tbsp lemon juice - 15 ml
- handful of parsley - chopped, 15 g
- handful of cilantro - chopped, 10 g
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, tomato, and pepper. Cook until softened and browning, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.
- Add the tomato sauce and water. Bring to a boil.
- Season with sugar, spices, harissa, and lemon juice. Cook for several minutes more.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley and cilantro. Chill, and serve cold.