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As promised — Turkish food! June 20, 2008

Posted by schizodigestive in guests, restaurants, Turkish.

This one comes from Kip, too — it’s sort of a follow-up to the eggplant post, albeit only loosely connected. After this, he’ll be guest-posting on some sort of regular schedule, but it won’t quite be three times a week. Let’s give him a nice big hand now, shall we?

I will never understand why Americans aren’t BATS about Turkish food. It is da bomb.

I mean, in Turkey, 72 million Turks eat the stuff every day and fervently — or let’s say fiercely — recommend it to guests. So it must have something to recommend it. And does it ever!!

Turkey’s culinary prowess arises partly from its location amid not only Greece, whose cuisine is justly renowned, and Iran whose food is flat-out great, but lesser lights like Azerbaijan. Not only that, but Turkey spent centuries as the crossroads of the Mediterranean world, so in Turkish cooking you get hints of Sicily, Morocco and even — thanks to the habits of the Turkish moneyed classes — France.

What you end up with, if you’re lucky, is something like the dinner I had in New York last night:

Fried calamari in tender alabaster-white rings with a golden coating of impossibly fine breadcrumbs, like panko. Actually, a lot like Japanese fried calamari, just cheaper.

Chunks of roasted eggplant mixed with tart Turkish plain yogurt and covered with a roasted red bell pepper.

Feta cheese mashed with parsley, rolled in a tube of filo pastry and deep-fried.

A bed of roasted eggplant mixed with butter and grated cheese, topped with slices of grilled marinated lamb, topped again with a thin tomato sauce flavored with cumin.

White beans (cannellini), black olives, chopped ripe tomatoes, red onion, cucumber and lots of parsley, in a red wine vinaigrette.

Dried apricots simmered in sweet white wine, stuffed with a creamed blanched almond, and dusted with ground pistachios. (If you’re not in the mood for fruit, there are great Med-conventional desserts like baklava, semolina cake or fried custard.)

And… Turkish coffee. I mean, srsly.

Ok, I’m sorry, but if your mouth isn’t watering by now your tongue is made of STONE. And yet in all the places I go put together, I can only find three Turkish restaurants! Why is this?! Next time you get a chance to go out for Turkish food, don’t pass it up!

My favorite restaurant in New York, bar none, is the Turkish place I went to last night. I’m not going to plug it here, but if you want the address, email me at panterazeroATgmailDOTcom.

Mmm, now I’m hungry. The steak-and-potatoes post is coming, guys; things have been crazy around here and I ended up making a pizza instead — and then eating leftover pizza instead. See you on Monday!



1. nysdelight - August 7, 2008

Interesting blog! Nice comments about Turkish food.



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