The Greeks of Turkey lived mostly in the western regions. Although there were Greek populations living in inner Anatolia as well, it has become more difficult to find the traces of their cultural life there. The most important elements in the cuisine of the Greeks living on the Islands and Istanbul are vegetables and fish. This is an unavoidable result of the natural life of the region. The abundance of water, and thus of greens and of fish, has given shape to the Greeks’ cuisine. Among the most outstanding characteristics of their cuisine are a great variety of mezes and methods of cooking fish.
One filleted swordfish
1 packet coarse salt
Prepared çemen (a spice mixture containing red pepper and coriander)
Let the filets sit in the salt for 12 hours. At the end of this time wash and dry the filets. Cover with çemen and allow to dry. When the çemen has reached a point where it no longer sticks to the hands, the fish pastırma is ready.
7-8 filets of sea bass
1 cup olive oil
2 T dried currants
2 T pine nuts
Red ground or flake pepper
1 t sugar
Clean filets, remove bones and cut into hand-size pieces, wash and allow to drain. Slice onions into very thin rings. Put olive oil into a wide shallow pan and place on medium heat. Add onions, and sauté till they go transparent, then add pine nuts and currants, and continue sautéing for one minute. Arrange the sea bass filets over the onions, add all the spices, the salt and the sugar. Lastly pour in about ¾ c white wine (enough to cover the onions), and allow to cook on a low flame until the fish is tender.
Pilaf with Mussels
20-25 cleaned mussels, removed from their shells
6-7 medium onions, chopped fine
1 c olive oil
2 c rice, soaked for several hours in warm water.
3 c hot water
1 t cinnamon
1 t allspice
1 t salt
1 t black pepper
1 t sugar
Wash the mussels well. Heat olive oil, add onions and sauté until transparent. Add mussels and sauté for 3-4 minutes more, then add the hot water to the pan. When the water comes to a full boil, add the washed and drained rice along with all the spices. Add the salt and sugar, reduce and cook for 5-6 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes.