Dry beans are known as known as the 'sultans of the Turkish kitchen.' They are a staple in Turkish cuisine where delicious recipes for fresh and dry beans abound.
One of the most common ways to eat beans is as a cold salad or starter, called 'piyaz' (pee-AHZ'). 'Piyaz' is a simple but satisfying dish made with white, or navy beans, red onion, Italian parsley and seasoned with vinegar.
'Piyaz' is usually served along with Turkish-style grilled meatballs, better known as 'köfte' (kuf-TAY'), and other grilled meats. 'Piyaz' is easy to prepare and made with common, inexpensive ingredients.
The key to good 'piyaz' lies in the quality of the beans and the way you handle them during cooking. Each bean must be very tender, but intact. To achieve perfect beans, you must allow ample time to soak them, then cook them very slowly until tender.
While draining the beans and mixing the salad, be sure to treat the cooked beans gently so you don't separate the beans from the hulls, or crush them. The best way is to turn the salad with a wooden spoon or use your fingers to toss it gently.
If you're short on time you can always substitute dry beans for canned. They will be soft and tasty, but you may not get the perfect, undamaged beans that are so prized.
- 1 cup beans (navy, dry)
- 1 onion (red)
- 2 ripe tomatoes
- 1 pepper (green pepper of your choice)
- 1/3 cup parsley (chopped Italian parsley)
- 1 egg (hard boiled)
- 1/4 cup olive oil (extra virgin)
- 4 tbsp. apple cider vinegar (or grape vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 6 black olives
- 4 lemon wedges
- Garnish: hot pepper flakes, sprigs of Italian parsley
- The night before, put the dry beans in a large bowl and cover them generously with water. Let them soak overnight. The next morning, drain the beans and put them in a pot with fresh water. Let them boil softly until tender. Allow them to cool in the water, then drain them well.
- If you want to save time, substitute the dry beans with canned Navy beans. Drain them and rinse them under cold water before you use them.
- Put the drained beans in a large bowl. Drizzle the vinegar over the top. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and let it rest for about one hour.
- In the meantime, chop the tomatoes into small cubes, cut the pepper into rings and chop the parsley. Peel the onion, cut it in half, and cut it into half-circle slices. Wearing rubber gloves, rub the onion slices between your hands or on a wooden cutting board to soften them.
- Drain the extra vinegar from the beans. Toss the chopped vegetables and parsley in with your fingers. Put the beans on a large, flat serving plate or distribute them on individual salad plates. Spread the onion slices evenly over the top.
- For the dressing, mix the lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper together then drizzle it over the salad. Garnish the top with black olives, slivers of hard-boiled egg, lemon wedges and parsley sprigs. Sprinkle with hot pepper flakes, if desired.
|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Total Fat||17 g|
|Saturated Fat||3 g|
|Unsaturated Fat||11 g|
|Dietary Fiber||14 g|