Olives! More olives!
I stumbled across this recipe just a few days ago on a THY flight to London in the inflight magazine Skylife. In fact, the recipe section was entirely devoted to olives, much to my interest – very seasonal given that we are right in the middle of the olive harvest.
Piyaz in Turkey usually refers to a salad or meze of white beans and hard-boiled eggs, onion and parsley, often dressed in vinegar rather than lemon juice.
In fact, in countries outside the Middle East, it is referred to as a Turkish bean salad. Here, you often see it served as a typical accompaniment to grilled köfte or meatballs. So it was interesting to see that this piyaz is entirely based on green olives with not a bean in sight.
Ideally, following this recipe, the olives should be kırma, easily available if you live here – these are the ones where the olive has been ‘broken’ or cracked, with either a stone or a mallet and then soaked in salamura ie brine: water, lemon and salt which enables the bitterness to seep away.
The idea is to render them ready to eat as soon as possible. Çizik olives are simply slit by hand with a knife, the reason is the same: for the inherent bitter taste to disappear. If you change the brine every few days or so, the bitterness will totally disappear.
You can do the same thing with olives that you buy, green or black, that are too salty: wash them and then cover with cold water. Change that water regularly, and the level of saltiness will diminish.
If you are an olive fan like I am, you will love the addition of crunchy walnuts and the sweetish syrupy taste of the nar ekşisi. I am sure this will work just as well with any of your favourite green olives!
More on Beautiful Turkish olives!