x0x Braising Vegetables, a Turkish Delight
By JOHN WILLOUGHBY
New York Times
AMONG the culinary crimes committed by mid-20th-century American cooks,
few were more heinous than the long, slow torture administered to boiled
vegetables: green beans cooked to a gray mush, zucchini so squishy it was
barely recognizable, tomatoes .stewed. into a formless mass.
But salvation did eventually come. In the wake of nouvelle cuisine.s
pared-down aesthetic came the glory days of .crisp cooked. vegetables.
Barely more than blanched, full of snap and bright flavor, they ushered in
a new appreciation of the vegetable world, and their long-cooked cousins
were banished to the scrap heap of culinary history.
Or at least that.s what I thought until, on a visit to Istanbul, I was
invited to dinner at a friend.s house. It was somewhat of an occasion,
since the elderly man who had been his family.s cook in the early
post-Ottoman days was preparing the meal.
After elaborate mezze and a pitch-perfect version of the lamb and eggplant
dish known as hunkar begendi, he brought out a dish of green beans. They
violated every rule of modern cookery: not only had they obviously been
.cooked to death,. as we all used to say about our mothers. vegetables,
but they were also served at room temperature.
And guess what? They were wholly delicious. Tender and succulent,
complemented by the sweet acidity of tomatoes and the mellowed bite of
onions, these long-cooked beans had a rich lushness that crisp vegetables
could never approach. Rather than being boiled in roiling water, they were
gently braised in olive oil (a substance restricted to the .pharmacy.
aisle of supermarkets back in those bad old days).
[Read the full article at:
Turkish-Style Braised Leeks (August 3, 2011)
Turkish-Style Braised Eggplant (August 3, 2011)
Turkish-Style Braised Green Beans (August 3, 2011)