Tree of the Mediterranean: The Olive

Article: Vedat Başaran Photo: Serkan Eldeleklioğlu Date: November 2013

A LITTLE GIANT, THE OLIVE—BOTH FRUIT AND OIL—IS A TURKISH DINING STAPLE.

Tree of the Mediterranean: The Olive
Tree of the Mediterranean: The Olive

It would be no exaggeration to say that no other tree is so closely intertwined with human history as the olive. A long-lived tree, it is known in mythology as the “Immortal Olive”, and the “olive branch” continues to symbolize peace and reconciliation between cultures even today. Going back thousands of years, the olive and the production of olive oil have traditionally been one of the world’s leading food sectors. The Mediterranean region is the home of the olive. In addition to the scores of varieties of olives produced in Turkey, you can also find many different species in Spain, France and Italy. There are serious producers too on the Mediterranean’s southern shores from Morocco all the way to Syria. This tiny fruit, which yields the world’s most valuable and nutritious oil, is also consumed in several other ways. Here are a few of them:

OLIVE BEUREK
Ingredients
300 g lean ground meat (30% fat)
2 medium onions
6 green onions
6 stalks of fresh garlic
2 bunches flat-leaf parsley
1 ½ cup walnuts
½ cup olive oil
1  ½ tbsp medium-hot red
pepper flakes, salt, black pepper
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
50 g Antep olives, slit and soaked in water to remove the bitterness.

Preparation
Brown the ground meat well, then add the finely chopped onions and the olive oil. When the onion begins to color, add the finely chopped olives and continue browning. Add the finely chopped walnuts, green onions and garlic, parsley, red pepper flakes, black pepper, pomegranate syrup and salt and continue cooking over low heat, stirring gently. Fill rounds of “pide” (Turkish pitta) dough with the mixture to make crescent-shaped beureks and bake, if possible, in a stone oven.

OLIVE SOUP
Ingredients
150 g lamb stew meat
100 g green olives
25 g red “kapya”
ribbon peppers
25 g yellow bell peppers
Half an onion
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup olive oil

Preparation
Preparation: Pour the olive oil into a small saucepan and heat until red hot. Add the stew meat and brown slowly for 10-15 minutes. Add the olives, peppers, onion, and garlic in turn. Cook for 10 more minutes and serve hot.

OLIVE PİYAZ
Ingredients
125 g green olives
125 g green olives slit
and marinated
20 g walnuts
Half bunch of
chopped parsley
4 green onions
Juice of one lemon
2 tbsp sour
pomegranate syrup
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp thyme

Preparation
Place the olives in a deep bowl, add the other ingredients and mix well. Then serve.

GREEN OLIVE SALAD
Ingredients
125 g large green olives
125 g pitted green olives,
slit and marinated
5 green onions
2 cloves garlic
Half a tomato
½ cup olive oil
Half bunch of flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried sumac
1 tsp ground cumin

Preparation
Place the olives in a deep bowl. Add the finely chopped parsley and green onions and the diced tomatoes. In a separate bowl, mix the olive oil, sumac, cumin and red pepper flakes well and add to the olives. Add the garlic last and let sit until all the flavors are absorbed. Then serve.