Turkish Mezze


Besides kebabs being everywhere in Turkey, the country is pretty great for a vegetarian thanks to the mezze available at many restaurants.  A good meal can start and end with the room temperature salads that the waiters bring to your table shortly after arrival.  In this video we have two favorite dishes from our travels… a garlicky yogurt and eggplant dish, and a chunky-gazpacho like salad.  Make them together or on their own, eat with bread or just use a spoon.  Use lots of herbs!

Yogurt and charred eggplant

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 cup full fat yogurt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley or mint
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 clove garlic or 4 cloves young garlic

Use a fork to poke lots of holes in your eggplant.  Roast the eggplant in the coals of a fire, on the burner of your stove top or under the broiler.  Each method will take different times, but you want the outside to be completely burned, and when you press down on the eggplant it should be soft and mushy  beneath the skin.  In coals this takes a good half hour and you will get the best flavor here.

After cooking, let it rest for a few minutes and then peel the skin of the eggplant, cut into strips and let it in a strainer till it cools completely.

Meanwhile, in a mortar and pestal, take your garlic and a pinch of salt, and grind the garlic into a pulp.

Once the eggplant has cooled, press it against the strainer for a few seconds to remove a little more liquid.  Then, cut the eggplant into small cubes, or tear into thin strips.  Mix the yogurt, olive oil, herbs, lemon juice and garlic, salt to taste.  Serve with an extra drizzle of olive oil on top and some fresh cut herbs.

Turkish “gazpacho”

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 jalapenos (1 grilled, 1 fresh)
  • 1 sweet red pepper
  • 1 cup chopped (grilled) garlic scapes
  • ½ red onion
  • ½ cup minced mint
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon Turkishpepper paste (we used harissa)
  • 2 Tablespoons pomegranate molasses (or aged balsamic, or balsamic syrup)
  • salt

Small dice each of the ingredients separately, then mince them all together.  Let them macerate for 10 minutes, then strain them out for 30 seconds.  You want some liquid but not a soup.  Serve with bread and other mezze.