Because I am lucky enough to be able to buy my vegetables fresh from the outdoor markets, I’m thrilled because spring is here!
Nowhere is it more apparent than at the market.
Today’s market was a little different as we went to Ezine pazarı, about half an hour away from Assos on the Aegean, where we are for a few days.
How was it different? Well, obviously much more rural in every way, from the stallholders, most of whom were women dressed in their traditional colourful gear, to the shoppers themselves. Istanbul is a very different scene where the market vendors are pretty much all male and the shoppers are certainly citified.
I don’t know if you know Ezine, do you? It’s fairly typical of these small provincial towns – in summer shabby, hot and dusty, now somewhat redeemed by the beautiful green countryside around. But Mondays are real market days ie an event, and there is a pleasant buzz with folk from outlying villages coming together both to socialise and to stock up for the coming week.
|enjoying a chat at the market today|
Another difference between Istanbul and here is the produce itself. No fancy broccoli or brussel sprouts in this part of the world, that’s for sure! And neither did I see any snowpeas/ mangetout known as sultaniye bezelye in Turkish which has rather a nice ring to it. Well, I really didn’t expect to!
|snowpeas or mangetout done in garlic and ginger|
I had brought some down with me and we had them last night. Rather optimistically we had thought we would go out for dinner but of course there was nowhere to go! It’s far too early for the ‘season’ when all the little places by the seaside open up and serve fish and meze. Everywhere is closed and deserted-looking and actually it’s rather cold in the evenings. We decided in the end to eat at home which is where the snowpeas come in!
I love them: I love the way they look, the way they taste and the fact that they represent spring! If you see them, buy some for they won’t be around for long!
All you need is some garlic and some ginger. I gave myself full marks when I discovered some in the freezer – because fresh ginger is again not something you would expect to find around these parts!
|grating the ginger, as much as you like|
Everything about this dish is very easy but there is one thing that is essential in the preparation of snowpeas and that is stringing them. And not only on one side but both. Even though they are young and fresh, they can still be a bit stringy so get out your sharpest knife. There is a little knack to being lucky and able to pull off the strings with your hand like this:
|if you’re lucky, you can pull both sides off at the same time, starting from the stalk end|
Once that’s out of the way, all you do is heat up some olive oil in a pan and gently sauté your crushed garlic – as much as you like – and grated ginger before adding the snowpeas. It’s like a little stir-fry – it IS a little stir-fry! Add some salt and stir a little. They cook very quickly. The idea is to catch them while they are still a bit crunchy and not too soft!
|sautéing in the pan|