Thursday, 5 April 2012

The Most Useful Recipe in the Aegean (and possibly the world)


It's market day again and time to cook another wild vegetable. I'm gradually working my way through the various greenery that sprouts up in this region in Spring and as you can see from the picture, it all looks like the weeds we would usually throw on the compost heap. You are probably getting a bit bored reading about ways to cook thistles so I thought I'd throw in a traditional recipe that can be used for cooking almost everything. In Greece it's called avgolimone or egg and lemon sauce and in Turkey it's called terbiyeli, which means well-behaved. I welcome all suggestions as to why egg and lemon sauce makes for a polite dish as I haven't been able to find a reason on the internet.
Take any vegetable ingredient of your choice, it could be leeks, celeriac, broccoli, thistle, cabbage, artichoke hearts or anything else that you have to hand.  Cut into what ever size you like but the smaller it is, the quicker it cooks. Put into a deep frying pan with a diced onion or two and a smashed garlic clove or two and a glug of olive oil. Cook on a low heat until everything has softened and then add a cup of stock, (a stock cube  in a cup of boiling water is fine).  In a bowl add the juice of two lemons to two beaten eggs yolks. When everything in the pan is soft, turn off the heat and take a ladle of the stock out of the pan and add to the egg and lemon bowl, mix well and tip it all back into the frying pan.  Then serve with rice, pasta, mashed potato or a chunk of bread.  If you prefer soup,  start off in a saucepan and add three cups of stock instead of one and add two or three ladles of stock to the egg and lemon before you tip it back in the pan. This is one of the easiest and most useful recipes in the world as long as you remember to NOT pour the egg and lemon mixture directly into the hot stock. (Unless you like lemon-flavoured soggy scrambled eggs)

7 comments:

  1. Great recipe and background.
    I'd make a wild guess that the 'well behaved' could relate to the lemon making the veg more digestible and therefore less - ahem - farty!

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    1. Good idea, I hadn't thought of that.

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  2. Just my kind of recipe - no weighing or fiddly measuring, infinitely adaptable and delicious! Another guess for 'terbiyeli': could it be a humorous name, precisely because the sauce is NOT well-behaved and curdles when too hot? It could also simply refer to 'tempered', i.e. 'seasoned'?
    I must add that I am thoroughly enjoying reading your blog. I love your writing style and your approach to life - your personality really shines through. So thank you for sharing your experiences!

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    1. Yes - you're right. The sauce only behaves when you treat it correctly. Thanks for the kind comments - I've gone all pink about the gills.

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  3. What a clever and completely flexible recipe. Brilliant.

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    1. You're welcome. I expect to see you two running a Turkish restaurant in Norwich called "Perking"

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  4. . . even I can manage this one - thank you!

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