For an authentic accompaniment to kuru köfte, the recipe for which is here, you should try piyaz.
It’s true you will see köfte everywhere served with chips, and garnished with a slice of red tomato and a green pepper, true harmony on a plate, but they go beautifully with this bean salad which will always be on offer in köftecis, traditional köfte places.
Now, Turkish salads may be miracles of freshness and seasonality, but very often the dressing, if any, is a let down. The classic is olive oil and lemon juice with salt and pepper usually added at the table. But I nearly always find that there is something lacking in the combination and it’s disappointing.
Here is where piyaz differs: the most important ingredient after the beans of course, is VINEGAR! The beans soak in it for a couple of hours and this combined with the other ingredients gives it a really zingy taste. It couldn’t be easier once all the right ones have been assembled and prepared, including boiling a couple of eggs: the end result is a delicious colourful salad ready to serve alongside any grilled meat but especially Turkish köftes!
|delicious freshly-made piyaz|
I have made piyaz using both the dried beans and a tin of pre-cooked white beans. Which one was a)easier b)better? Yes, go for the tin every time and save yourself a whole lot of time and bother. Buy several in fact, get the large size, and keep them in the store cupboard for a rainy day. Ideal for when you are called upon to ‘bring a dish’!
Piyaz: Bean Salad
1 large tin pre-cooked white beans, drained
½ cup vinegar
1 onion, sliced very finely
1 large tomato, chopped or sliced, or 4-5 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced (I used a çarliston biberi, a long sweet one)
|the chopped green pepper and sliced onion|
12 black olives
¼ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup olive oil
Salt to taste
· Place the drained beans in a bowl and pour the vinegar over them. Leave for 2 -3 hours depending on time. Drain.
· Take the slices of onion and sprinkle with salt. Knead the onion and salt with your hands so that the bitter juices are released. Place in a sieve and rinse under cold running water. With your hand, squeeze out the remaining water. NB this is a time-honoured Turkish way of treating onions and I recommend it.
· Add the onion, parsley, pepper to the drained beans and season with salt. Pour the olive oil on top. Arrange the bean mixture on a salad plate and garnish with the tomatoes, the sliced pepper, olives and eggs.
It’s as easy as that!