When summer rolls in, my cooking habits gear towards lighter cooking with olive oil only. This is one of my favorites in Turkish cuisine which can turn any vegetable or legume into a hearty but light fare. We have a category in Turkish cuisine just for these vegetarian dishes cooked in olive oil and served cold: “zeytinyağlı” (which means with olive oil). In hot summers, it is a nice compliment to grills, rice and pasta, or an entree on its own with green salad. Since no re-heating involved, you can make it the night before for your parties, and serve right out of the fridge.
You can pretty much make a dish with some good extra virgin olive oil, sliced or diced yellow onions,garlic, some grated or chopped tomato in some instances along with your vegetable or legume of choice, and there…you have your zeytinyağlı!
I will be posting more dishes like this and the celeriac, fava beans,and eggplants. Just find some good extra virgin olive oil and keep your fresh herbs handy. These dishes normally get a tasty boost from fresh herbs like dill, mint and Italian parsley. This dish is made with carrots, onions, garlic and cranberry beans cooked in freshly grated tomatoes. Although it is a side dish, I love eating it on its own with crusty bread and green salad only.
I was lucky enough to have easy and cheap access to high quality olive oil in in Turkey. Mediterranean coast is lined with olive trees and Turkey is one of the big producers of olive oil. When it comes to olive oil, finding a good one can be confusing. I go for extra virgin olive oil with deep greenish color. The highest quality oils are the ones with only 1% acidity, cold pressed and obtained from the first pressed. Something to look for on the bottle: mechanically pressed or cold pressed, the acidity levels and also origin. I have also learned that some expensive bottles that say “Italian” might not be actually Italian. They get oil from several different countries such as Spain, Greece and Turkey, blend with their Italian oil and sell it as “bottled in Italy” or “imported from Italy”. Just some points to pay attention to if you are spending a big chunk of money on a bottle.
So I hope with these dishes called “zeytinyağlı”, I will be able to cool your summers. :)
Barbunya – Cranberry Beans
1 cup of cranberry beans (soaked in water at least 6 hrs)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 medium size carrots, sliced diagonally 1/4 inch thick
1 medium size onion, finely chopped or sliced
2 medium size tomatoes, grated (should be about 1 – 1.5 cup once grated)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 or more cups of water
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Chopped parsley for garnish
1. Heat olive oil in a medium size pan, add onions and carrots. Saute for 5 minutes until onions are translucent.
2. Add soaked cranberry beans, grated tomato, salt, pepper and add 2 cups of water.
3. Cook until beans are done, adding more water if necessary.
4. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, stir and let it cool.
5. Serve with more lemon juice on side and parsley on top.