Meals in Turkey and the Middle East are about gathering together. There is no micro wave pop tarts or instant oatmeal. It’s about starting your day with a ritual of putting on your pot of tea, letting it rest while you set the table, and sitting with your family before a long day away from the home.
First things first: You must start the tea. Turkish black tea is brewed in a double tea pot, top pot has strong tea with the bottom pot with just hot water. Unlike most other teas you have had, turkish black tea needs time to “rest” and get strong. That takes about 20-30 min.
Next, it’s time to dig into the fridge for the rest:
- Cucumbers (preferably the small persian ones)
- Olives (black and green)
- Feta cheese (sheep’s milk over cow’s milk, please!)
- Lots of different jams: sour cherry, rose petal, sesame fig, marmalade
- Assorted sliced meats and cheeses
- Regular french bread and/or sesame simit (turkish bagels)
- Fried eggs in sucuk (turkish sausage)
What I love about setting the turkish breakfast is that it’s communal eating at it’s best. Everyone is sharing and passing the love filled bowls around the table, drinking tea, and setting their day up in a slow, mindful way.
SO! How do I take all these ingredients and set my plates? Well, I start with the tomatoes and cucumbers..Depending on how many people dictates if they are place together on one plate or divided into 2. After slicing both, I drizzle with olive oil, dash or 2 of salt, and a sprinkle of Mediterranean oregano (kekik). Next come the olives: I like to add olive oil to those and some various hot pepper flakes over them for extra flavor.
Feta needs to be soaked in water to release the brine that it soaks in. This will make it less salty and more creamy when served. I like to plate feta a few different ways, so take your pick:
- Simply sliced on a plate
- Sliced and drizzled with olive oil sprinkled with Aleppo Pepper
- Cumbled, drizzled with olive oil and roughly chopped walnuts & cracked black pepper
- Crumbled topped with sour cherry jam
Jams all have their own little bowls and spoons..no mix-y mix-y!
Let’s talk eggs and sucuk! Sucuk is a sort of hard sausage that comes in mild or spicy. Most have a casing that needs to be removed before slicing. I use lots of butter when I cook sucuk because it is so yummy to dip your toast in after all the sucuk and eggs have been devoured. Slice your sucuk, place in a pan w melted butter and let cook until they sort of create a dome like shape, then flip over. After you have flipped them over, crack your eggs over them to fry.
If you have a big brunch party and want to do a lot at once, I have been successful at cooking everything in the over on a cookie sheet. Oven is 350. Cookie sheet goes in the oven to get hot with lots of butter. Once the butter is melted all over the tray, add your sucuk slices. Take the tray out to turn them over when ready and add your eggs. Don’t walk away once you have added the eggs and put them back in the oven because they will cook up fast! This can also be done on a BBQ if you are having an outdoors brunch and don’t want to be stuck inside cooking while everyone is outside enjoying themselves!
Toast up your bread and starting pouring your tea! The tea is probably all ready. Pour the tea over a strainer into the cup about 1.5-2 fingers high depending on the glass, then top with plain hot water. Remember, always dump out old tea before refilling the cup with a fresh cup!
Now it’s time to sit and enjoy…you deserve it! Take your time and enjoy your morning, savoring all the mixings of sweet, savory with lots of love and bubbly conversation!