Aboard the gulet Salamander all your meals are catered for except 2 dinners on shore per week, giving you the chance to sample the local cuisine. Lots of our guests ask us for the recipe of a favourite dish at the end of their holiday because they’ve fallen in love with Turkish flavours. Turkish food is fresh and above all flavoursome. While the food isn’t spicy in terms of heat it is meticulously well spiced. Like other Mediterranean food and Middle Eastern cuisine olives feature heavily.
The main herbs and spices used in Turkish cooking are parsley, mint, oregano, thyme, cumin, paprika and allspice. Meat and fish are marinated or rubbed with a mixture of these spices to imbue the flavours into the food.
‘Mixed grill’ is a common site on the menus of Turkish restaurants in the UK. This is because Turkish food is so frequently grilled. This cooking style adds a charred flavour as well as being extremely healthy. We have a BBQ on the boat which we use to grill freshly caught fish, lamb chops and delicious Turkish vegetables such as aubergines.
Ground meat is mixed with rice or used to stuff vegetables or it is formed into kebabs or koftas. Chicken and lamb are the most commonly eaten meats.
You might not have thought it but a lot of Turkish food is suitable for vegetarians. Apart from grilling vegetables in large pieces, Turkish vegetable dishes are also often served with an onion and tomato base where the vegetables are chopped and added with water. These are referred to as ‘sulu yemek’ which means ‘a dish with juice’.
Stuffed vegetables or dolma are another key vegetable dish in Turkey. These are easy to replicate at home. Cook rice with a few chosen spices and mix with chopped vegetables. If you’re stuffing an aubergine or courgette you can use the carved insides. Fill the hollowed vegetable and bake in the oven or grill until the skin glistens and blisters.
Sooth your sweet tooth
Turkish sweets can be tooth-achingly sweet but if you’re making them at home you can adjust them to suit your taste. One dish you must try to make at home is baklava. Baklava has been claimed by many nations as a native dish but in general it is considered to hail from Turkey. Gaziantep, aka Antep, in particular claims to be the home of baklava.
Baklava consists of layers of wafer thin pastry, chopped nuts and flavoured syrup of honey and rose petals or rosewater. You can use filo pastry which is easily sourced ready-made in UK, US and European supermarkets. When choosing the filling pistachios are favoured but hazelnuts, almonds or walnuts are all acceptable. Turkey is a major producer of pistachios so it’s more authentic to stick with pistachios. Their beautiful green colour adds an attractive appearance to the dish.