Bill Granger recipes: Our chef extols the East-meets-West zing of Turkish cuisine
Vibrant colours, punchy flavours - Turkey is where the perfumed richness of Eastern cuisine meets the sun-infused lightness of the Mediterranean menu
Sunday 25 May 2014
The warm spices and bold flavours of Turkish food have always been a favourite with me. Seeing the abundance of similar-sounding dips and grills on our local Turkish restaurant menus, it's easy to mistake it for a basic cuisine, but in reality it's quite complex.
On one side you have the lightness and sunshine of the food of the Southern Med, and on the other the perfumed fragrance and richness of the East. In a bizarre kind of way, it also reminds me of Thai food – with every bite you get a burst of vibrant, fresh flavours perfectly balanced with sweet, sour and heat.
You could stretch this out with some dips and flatbread, but I'm happy with a light meal at this time of year, especially when it's so rich in punchy flavours.
Bill's restaurant, Granger & Co, is at 175 Westbourne Grove, London W11, tel: 020 7229 9111, and 50 Sekforde Street, London EC1, tel: 020 7251 9032, grangerandco.com. Follow Bill on Instagram at bill_granger
Bulgur salad with roasted peppers and tomatoes
This salad is delicious with the rich flavour of grilled sardines, but would work just as well with spiced lamb skewers.
500g baby plum tomatoes, halved
2 grilled red peppers from a jar, cut into strips
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbsp olive oil
200g bulgur wheat
Juice 1 lemon
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
Small bunch of dill, chopped
Small bunch of mint, leaves only, roughly chopped
Small bunch of parsley, leaves only, roughly chopped
5 spring onions, shredded
1 tsp sumac
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Place the tomatoes in a roasting tin with the peppers. Season with salt and pepper, scatter with cinnamon and drizzle with half the oil and roast for 20 minutes, or until softened and starting to caramelise. Meanwhile put the bulgur wheat in a large bowl, top with 125ml boiling water and cover with clingfilm. Set aside for 20 minutes.
Fold the roasted tomatoes and peppers through the bulgur wheat. Add the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, lemon juice and pomegranate molasses and set aside to cool. Fold through the herbs and spring onion and top with a scattering of sumac.
Grilled spiced sardines with tahini sauce
These remind me of the grilled sardine sandwiches you get in Istanbul. What a treat!
8-12 sardines, gutted and cleaned
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp fennel seeds
2 tsp dried chilli flakes
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp olive oil, plus 1 tbsp to drizzle<
Handful of parsley
Lemon wedges, to serve
For the tahini sauce
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp tahini
Juice 1 lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
Pinch crushed dried chillies (optional)
What a treat: Grilled spiced sardines with tahini sauce (Kristin Perers)
Mix the paprika, fennel, chilli and half the garlic together. Add some salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir in the oil. Rub this spice mixture all over the inside and outside of the sardines. Combine the remaining garlic and the parsley and stuff inside the fish. Set aside.
For the tahini sauce, mix the garlic and tahini with a pinch of salt. Stir in the lemon juice, then loosen the mixture with the olive oil and about 4-5 tbsp water, adding it slowly and stirring until you have a thin sauce. Add a pinch of crushed chillies, if you like spice.
Heat the barbecue or grill to hot. If the sardines are large, slash a couple of times on each side, to ensure even cooking. Barbecue for 2-3 minutes on each side. Serve with bulgur salad, tahini sauce and lemon wedges.
Honey parfait with caramelised oranges
If you have some orange blossom water, add a tiny splash to the parfait before freezing it.
For the parfait
4 tbsp honey
3 tbsp caster sugar
4 egg yolks
375ml double cream
For the caramelised oranges
115g caster sugar
1 cinnamon stick
A few mint leaves
3 tbsp toasted pistachios, chopped
Honey parfait with caramelised oranges (Kristin Perers)
For the parfait, place the honey, sugar and egg yolks in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk with electric beaters until the mixture has thickened and holds its shape. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Whisk the cream in a large bowl, until it just holds its shape. Gently fold in the cooled honey and egg mixture. Pour into a container with a tight-fitting lid and freeze for at least 6 hours.
For the caramelised oranges, grate the zest of 1 orange into a small pan with the sugar, cinnamon stick and ¼ cup of water. Heat over a medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved then simmer, without stirring, until the sugar turns a deep caramel colour. Remove from the heat and carefully pour in another 60ml water. Stir until any caramel lumps have melted. Set aside to cool.
Peel the oranges and slice into rounds. Turn the parfait out on to a platter and top with the orange slices. Spoon over the caramel sauce and top with mint and pistachios.
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