Bonnie Stern, NATIONAL POST
Turkish olive salad. Youve probably been using Turkish olive oil, which is some of the worlds best, for years without knowing it.
Throughout Turkeys tumultuous past, the olive tree has remained constant. Turkey has become the fourth largest olive oil producer in the world and has approximately 160 million olive trees. In order to advance in the worlds rankings and make Turkish olive oil more well-known internationally, the National Olive and Olive Oil Council invited a group of journalists, from Canada, the U.S., China, Japan and Brazil to tour Turkeys largest and finest olive growing region. I was fortunate enough to be invited on this trip.
We drove through beautiful olive groves from Izmir to Ayvalik and Bursa, where three-quarters of Turkeys olive trees are located. We went to huge plants such as Taris and Kristal, and smaller, artisanal producers such as Kursat and Laleli. We ate at restaurants where they cooked exclusively with olive oil, we toured olive oil museums, we learned how to pick olives, we tasted superb extra virgin olive oils and sampled hundreds of delicious table olives. We loved Turkish food, which celebrates seasonal vegetables and fruits, local flavours and traditional cooking.
Agim Pristine of Torontos Cheese Boutique says: Canadians have been consuming Turkish olive oil for years without even knowing it at restaurants and under other labels. Now, Turkey is branding their own products and going international.
TURKISH OLIVE SALAD
Turkey is the second largest table olive producer in the world. This salad is similar to one we had as part of the meze at Begendik Abi, a restaurant in Izmir that follows slow-food principles and cooks traditional dishes. I used large, pitted green olives and smaller natural, dry, wrinkled black olives (like Gemlik), which I halved and pitted. Be sure to warn guests if the olives are not pitted!
- 1 cup black olives, pitted
- 1 cup green olives, pitted and sliced
- 2 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh dill
- 1/4 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes
- 1/4 lemon, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (or more to taste)
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper or Aleppo pepper
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
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