Top Turkish-Cypriot Chef’s Recipe for Salad With Feta Dressing

Selin Kiazim is a young chef with a growing following for her bold cooking at Oklava, a Shoreditch restaurant where the light, colorful and flavorsome dishes reflect both her Turkish-Cypriot heritage and her training in exciting London kitchens.

Here is her recipe for romaine lettuce with feta dressing and walnuts, a dish she first came across at a restaurant called Uskumru in Istanbul. She says the waiter wouldn’t tell her the ingredients, and she spent years developing her own version.

Top Turkish-Cypriot Chef’s Recipe for Salad With Feta Dressing

“I really like this recipe as it’s simple yet very rewarding not only in flavor but looks impressive, too,” she says. “The crisp lettuce works in perfect harmony with the creamy dressing.”

(A version of this recipe appears in her book, “Oklava: Recipes From a Turkish-Cypriot Kitchen .”)

It’s a simple dish to make, and you can use pickled or candied walnuts (available from Turkish stores, in particular) or regular ones lightly toasted and then crushed. (I toasted them by putting some in a pan, without oil, and regularly tossing them for about five minutes on a low-to-medium heat.) I was surprised by just how much flavor is produced by so few ingredients.

Top Turkish-Cypriot Chef’s Recipe for Salad With Feta Dressing

She says the recipe serves four but it tastes so good, I immediately ate half of the salad as soon as I had photographed it.

Ingredients:

1 head romaine lettuce, separate leaves, wash and dry 

100 grams (3.4 ounces) walnuts

½ bunch chives, finely sliced 

30g pecorino or other hard cheese 

Feta Dressing:

300g feta cheese

1 garlic clove, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon dried oregano 

1 tablespoon honey 

1 lemon, juiced 

100 milliliters (3.5 fluid ounces) extra virgin olive oil 

50ml water 

A little salt, if needed

Preparation:

  1. Start by making the feta dressing. Place all the ingredients into a blender and process until smooth. 
  2. Crush the walnuts into pieces using the back of a pan or pestle and mortar.
  3. Lay all the leaves out on a tray with their cupped side facing up. Spread the feta dressing inside all the leaves.  
  4. Distribute the walnut pieces across the lettuce evenly. Then sprinkle over the chives and finely grate the hard cheese all across the top.
  5. Arrange on a plate, stacking up high into a tepee shape.

Richard Vines is Chief Food Critic at Bloomberg. Follow him on Twitter @richardvines and Instagram @richard.vines.

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