Wednesday, September 12, 2012

If I had a Turkish mother-in-law, I'm sure she would yell at me for some of the atrocities I've committed in my kitchen here in Istanbul.

My friend, Sharon, has told me so. She's married to a Turk and has lived here for 17 years.

Sharon has scolded me for throwing away those precious spinach roots. I buy the bunches of spinach at the pazar, wash it several times in the kitchen sink to remove all the dirt, trim it and then steam it or use it in various dishes such as my Turkish Green Eggs.
Perfectly stacked bunches of spinach at the pazar in Istanbul.
AND yes, I throw away the spinach roots!

But this weekend, I finally saved those darned spinach roots from the kilo of spinach we had bought at the pazar. And I actually cooked them up in a fabulous little meze dish that was loaded with slivers of garlic and pul biber.

My husband and his friend were impressed! So was I! We served them with grilled antrikot and some Turkish-style okra.

Guess I'll be saving those darned spinach roots after all.

Afiyet olsun!

BTW, Claudia at A Seasonal Cook in Turkey mentioned these spinach roots awhile back too.

A delicious Turkish meze of spinach roots at home!

Spinach Roots Meze (Ispanak Kökü Mezesi)
This is a loose recipe as I didn't really measure anything this time.

Olive oil
4-6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped (You can never have too much garlic!)
1/2 onion, small diced
Spinach roots saved from 1 kilo of spinach, trimmed and washed (about 2-3-inches in length)
Generous spoonful of pul biber, if you like it spicy like we do
To taste salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small pan, heat the olive oil.

Saute the garlic and onion for a couple of minutes until softened.

Add the spinach roots with just a little water to help them cook. Cover the pot with a lid. Cook for 10 minutes or until tender.

Season the spinach roots with pul biber, salt and pepper.

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Unknown said...

Confession: I used to throw them away for the longest time too!!! Now you have to move on to beetroot leaves ...
ps thanks for the mention!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i wonder if i can even fins spinach roots here. most all spinach is rootless. this looks so good!

Joy said...

@Claudia, LOL. I'm happy to know I wasn't the only one. But the spinach roots are great.'ll have to tell me how to cook the beetroot leaves.

@Joyce, unless you grow the spinach yourself or can find a farmer that will save them for you? :)

BacktoBodrum said...

I also threw away the roots until this year. Just too much grit to wash out for a working mum. Now I have an empty nest and no full-time job, I have time to wash the roots.

Anonymous said...

Hi Joy, I am from Poland living in Turkey. A quick note on the beetroot leaves: in my country of origin, young beetroot soup is a staple in season. In the warm months we make something like gazpacho, but with cucumbers, radishes, dill and beetroot leaves.

Panda & Monkey said...

Hi Joy, I'm Sammy from Thailand, Last month i have been there ( Istanbul) for half month, I tried to find baking ingredian shop but couldn't get it, Happy to see your post, I like to bake so much and thanks for advice :)

Joy said...

@Anonymous, thanks for the tips! Good to know there are other ways to use them too.

@Panda&Monkey, Sorry you couldn't find all the ingredients. Here's a helpful post for you.

My 3 Favorite Baking Supply Stores in Eminonu in Istanbul

Anonymous said...

I just moved to Turkey ,originally from Boston ,MA ..It's wonderful to read about your great experience in Turkey..I love to read and try your recipes.. Speaking of the Bazars,if your ever on the Asian side I recommend you to visit the Kadikoy Bazar..Thats were I go crazy:)

Joy said...

@Anonymous, thanks for stopping by! I have been to the one in Kadikoy, but it's been ages ago. It's very big! I loved all the fabric vendors too. :-)