My friend Tanya emailed me just before she rode off on a cycling holiday to share this wonderful salad recipe passed down by her Armenian father.
This salad is so good and so simple, and this is the perfect time of year to eat it. This is the way my dad used to make it: tomatoes, onions and flat leaf parsley, mint, cucumbers – small Cyprus ones if you can get them – peppers (optional), sumac, lemon juice and a splash of olive oil, bit of salt. Use of lot of parsley like you would salad leaves and plenty of tomatoes. Dice everything into quite small pieces and mix well, add a squeeze of lemon and some sumac. Lastly, add a splash of olive oil and salt if needed. Ideally you should serve with some thin flat bread and an Ayran – salty yoghurt drink. Heaven. Off in a minute to port… Enjoy!
I was leafing through Rebecca Seal’s Istanbul this afternoon and saw that Tanya’s dish is similar to the Turkish ‘Shepherd’s Salad’ or Coban Salatasi, ‘a very important dish in Turkish cooking that is served as part of most meals when the ingredients are in season.’ With Tanya’s serving suggestion in mind, I chose to serve my Armenian salad with Lavas (flatbreads) and Cilbir, or poached eggs in garlic yoghurt, both from Seal’s book. Cilbir is in fact a breakfast dish – as Keane was quick to point out – but as someone who regularly eats kedgeree for tea I thought to hell with convention. It all went down very nicely indeed.
- 80g flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 15g fresh mint, finely chopped
- 400g ripe tomatoes, cubed (deseed if very juicy)
- ¾ whole cucumber, deseeded and cubed
- ½ red onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp sumac
- Juice ½ lemon (large and juicy!)
- Sea salt, to taste
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Chop the fresh ingredients as stated above.
- Combine in a large bowl.
- Just before serving, sprinkle over sumac and salt then dress with lemon juice and olive oil.
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About Chloe King
I'm a freelance writer, designer and webby type. I live with my husband and daughter in the south of England. I like to cook and can throw a good party.
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