Olive Oil - Based Cuisine
Turkish Olive Oil Dishes
Vegetables are consumed in large quantities in the Turkish diet. A lot of vegetables are cooked in olive oil. If a dish is cooked without any kind of meat, then it is called “zeytinyağlı,” which in turn means that it is cooked in olive oil. These dishes are mostly served cold.
Dolma is one of the most popular olive oil dishes. It can be made with eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, zucchinis, and grape and cabbage leaves. Dolma are stuffed with a mixture of rice and onion with various spices. Yaprak sarma is the most preferred and most delicious olive oil dish. Wrapped vine grape leaves are filled with rice, onion, and spices like mint, currant, pepper, and cinnamon.
Olive oil-based dishes in Turkish cuisine may be cooked with various vegetables and herbs such as eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, zucchinis, artichokes, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, celeriac, leeks, okra, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, purslane, spinach, Jerusalem artichokes, peas, and so on. The dish is enriched with rice, bulgur, spices, herbs, grains, fruits, and sometimes dried fruits. They are mostly garnished with chopped dill or parsley, and served with a slice of lemon for extra acidity.
Nar ekşisi, which is pomegranate molasses or syrup, is thickened pomegranate juice. It is used to enrich the flavor of olive oil dishes and meat stews – this is also one of the ways it was used in Ottoman cuisine. Pomegranate molasses goes very well with salads and vegetable dishes.
Especially in the Aegean cuisine, vegetable dishes are prepared very simply. Incredibly tasty dishes are cooked using only extra virgin olive oil, an acidic ingredient such as some freshly squeezed lemon juice, and koruk eksişi. Koruk ekşisi, or verjuice, is a highly acidic juice made by pressing unripe grapes, crab apples, or other sour fruit.
Some popular olive oil-based dishes are imam bayıldı (whole eggplant stuffed with onion, garlic, and tomatoes); zeytinyağlı pırasa (braised leeks and carrots); pilaki (navy beans in tomato sauce), zeytinyağlı taze fasulye (green beans); zeytinyağlı portakalli kereviz (celeriac with oranges); zeytinyağlı bamya (okra); ispanak zeytinyağlı (spinach with rice/bulgur); zeytinyağlı enginar (artichokes); and zeytinyağlı bakla (broad beans).