Vegetables are a very important part of the Turkish diet, and fresh salads are an essential part of most meals. The collard greens salad with yogurt-garlic sauce is a specialty of the Black Sea region of Turkey. It is usually serve as a light lunch on hot days.
My first bite into this salad led me to think…well, maybe it wasn’t as good as what it seemed. First taste of the yogurt-garlic sauce and my face actually cringed a little bit. It’s a bit odd. However, the more I ate the salad, the slightly bitter collard greens with the sweetness from onions and the nice flavor from green peppers and tomatoes, the more I liked it. I wasn’t sure that my husband would like it too, but turned out that he loved it. I also like how the rice clinged to the salad. The longer you leave the garlic sauce, the better it is. The garlic will really infuse its flavor into the yogurt and pour it on top of the salad, I can eat this whole plate on my own. Even better when it is served chilled (to me at least).
Another recipe keeper from The Sultan’s Kitchen by Ozcan Ozan.
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 small Spanish onion, finely diced (1/2 cup)
- ½ cup long-grain rice
- 2 medium tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped (1 cup)
- 2 green bell peppers, seeded and finely chopped (1/2 cup)
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 pounds collard greens, coarsely chopped (include tender stems)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- YOGURT-GARLIC SAUCE/SARMISAKI YOGURT SOS (1⅔ cups)
- 1⅔ cups plain yogurt
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt, garlic and salt until the mixture is very smooth. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the sauce for at least 15 minutes or longer to allow the flavor of the garlic to blend with the yogurt
- Yogurt-garlic sauce is good with rgilled and stuffed vegetable dishes, pilafs, boreks (savory pastries), plain cooked greens, such as spinach and Swiss chard.
- Stir in the rice, tomatoes, and green peppers. Pour in the water or stock. Add the chopped collard greens and season with salt and pepper. Cover the saucepan, lower the heat, and cook gently for about 20 minutes, or until the collard greens are tender and all the liquid has been absorbed
- Transfer the contents of the saucepan to a serving dish, cover the dish, and refrigerate for about 1 hour. To serve, pour the yogurt-garlic sauce over the salad and sprinkle paprika over the sauce. This dish is best served chilled or at room temperature