Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Enjoying Summer's Bounty: Turkish Style Vegetables!



Are you set to enjoy the last weeks of summer? Or are you tired of the heat and wishing for fall already?  In Turkey, summer’s all about vegetables: eggplant, tomatoes, squash, and green beans.  On hot afternoons delicious smells of frying peppers travel up and down the stairs of our apartment building as housewives make dinner. Kızartma, fried vegetables, is a popular dish served with garlic yogurt. Vegetables of all varieties are cooked in olive oil, tomato, and garlic.

“Olive oil won’t make you fat,” my Turkish mother used to tell me.  


At her house in Istanbul, I would take small servings of olive oil vegetable dishes to avoid putting on weight. “You’ve misunderstood,” she’d say.  “There’s no way you can gain weight from olive oil.”

Twenty five years later, I’m still suspicious of her benevolent pronouncements on the virtues of olive oil, so I use less oil when I make kızartma. Here is a Turkish-inspired vegetable stir-fry.  If you don’t like eggplant, try it with 4 zucchini instead and reduce the amount of olive oil.  If you’re doubtful, try it with one eggplant and three zucchini

Patlıcan ve Kabak Kızartması (Stir Fried Eggplant and Squash)

2 long eggplants
2 large zucchini
½ medium onion sliced
1 ½ sweet red peppers (or red bell pepper)
3-4 cloves garlic minced
3 TBSP olive oil, divided
Salt to taste
  1. Partially peel the eggplant, leaving long strips of skin down the sides.  Cut in diagonal slices and soak in salted water while you prepare the other vegetables. 
  2. Slice the onion and red pepper into bite sized strips and sauté them with 1 TBSP oil in a lidded non-stick skillet on medium heat.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, lifting the lid occasionally to stir. Add the minced garlic and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Remove to a shallow serving dish.
  3. Drain the eggplant and toss it with 1 TBSP oil in the skillet.  Toss it so that it browns evenly.  After the oil is absorbed, add 2 TBSP water and cover the skillet, opening to stir every few minutes.  Add a bit more water and 1 more tsp. oil if it becomes dry.  Cook about 8 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender.  Remove to the serving dish.
  4. While the eggplant cooks, slice the zucchini diagonally.  Add 2 tsp. oil to the skillet and sauté the zuquinni in the lidded skillet for 4-5 minutes. Remove to the serving dish.
Toss the vegetables with salt to taste, and let them come to room temperature before serving.   This is delicious served with plain Greek style yogurt and rice for a vegetarian lunch or as a side dish.

Variations:  

Sprinkle with chopped flat leaf parsley if desired. Add ½ clove minced garlic and ¼ tsp salt to one cup of yogurt for an authentic Turkish yogurt sauce.  This can also be served with a dollop of tomato garlic sauce.

What’s your favorite summer vegetable dish?

5 comments:

Alida said...

Gotta give this a try...it sounds yummy!

Karin said...

This is great. Thank you for sharing this recipe. Will try it. Can smell the olive oil cooking vegetables. Keep up the cooking!

Annmarie Pipa said...

looks and sounds delicious!! I think there is a little magic in olive oil.

OliveTree said...

I think you are right Annmarie. Olive oil is a magic ingredient...

Jenny said...

Yum!