What is ezme?
'Ezme' is a Turkish word that means 'crushed'. You'll also see the word used to describe any other Turkish food that involves a bit of crushing, smashing up or grinding. Antep Ezmesi is from the east of Turkey and is spicy - like a lot of other Eastern Turkish dishes - and so is always going to appeal to us as spicy food addicts. It's basically a spicy tomato salad dip and the nearest thing we can think of to describe it to you is a hot salsa dip made with the freshest of ingredients.
Our homemade spicy Antep EzmesiYou'll see ezme in any Turkish restaurant or lokanta that serves mezeler (starters) from their fridges. This, and the sort of homemade ezme you'll find in Turkish cookery books, is much much better quality than the product you can buy from the supermarket deli counters in Fethiye. The deli ezme is still tasty but it's a completely different dish - for us, too much tomato puree is used rather than fresh, chopped tomato and you don't get the refreshing flavours on your tongue.
We'd be misleading you if we said making your own Antep ezmesi takes no effort - but the taste sensation afterwards is worth the effort. If you're desperate to make it and you're in a bit of a rush, you can use a food processor/mixer to chop everything (except your tomatoes!!). It's still amazingly good like this but not quite as a good as some good old chopping by hand.
A Turkish Recipe for Antep Ezmesi
- 3 big beef tomatoes (the riper the better)
- 1 medium cucumber (slice into quarters, down the middle, and remove and discard the watery seeds)
- 1 red or green pepper (if you're in Turkey and you're using the long thin ones, use 2 or 3)
- 1 onion
- Half bunch of parsley
- Good glug of olive oil
- Glug of vinegar
- Teaspoon of mint
- Tablespoon of tomato puree (use salça if you're in Turkey.)
- As many chillies as you can handle - it's supposed to be spicy!
- Pinch of salt
- Remove the skin (plunge them in boiling water for a minute and then cold water and it'll come away easily) from your tomatoes and de-seed them. Chop them up as finely as you possibly can without them turning to mush. This bit must be done by hand.
- Chop the cucumber, pepper, onion, chillies and parsley as finely as you can and add them to your chopped tomatoes. (These can be whizzed up in the food processor but as I said before, you'll taste the difference if you persevere by hand. Think of it as therapeutic.)
- Add mint, oil, vinegar, tomato puree and salt and mix it all up. You can add more vinegar or oil to your own taste.
- Put it in the fridge for a while and then you can eat it all up.
Have you ever tried Antep Ezmesi? What do you think of it?