Recipe Corner: Joumana Accad’s Turnip Greens Salad

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A native of Lebanon, Joumana is a trained pastry chef and professional caterer. In her celebrated cookbook, Taste of Beirut, she shares her heritage through exquisite food and family anecdotes, teaching anyone how to master traditional Lebanese cuisine. Published in 2014 by Health Communications, Inc. (US), her cookbook has enjoyed to date the largest number of independent five-star reviews from their roster of cookbooks, and is available online through Amazon and other sites as well as in major bookstores in Lebanon. “Taste of Beirut began as a blog in 2009 and its main purpose was to share my beloved Lebanese heritage with the world through recipes, anecdotes, and cultural tidbits,” says Joumana.

With over 150 recipes inspired by her beloved grandmother, Accad captures the well-known and healthy flavors of the Middle East and makes them completely accessible to home cooks everywhere, like this popular Turnip Greens Salad. “This is a cooked salad,” she says, “made in Lebanon with dandelion greens (wild or farm-grown) called hindbeh. I decided to make it with turnip greens instead, because dandelion greens in the US are not comparable to the ones in Lebanon (in the US, their stems are tougher and the leaves are narrower); the turnip greens on the other hand are readily available, have wide leaves and taste great.”

Ingredients:

2 large bunches of turnip greens (or other greens)

1/2 cup olive oil (more as needed)

2 large onions, one chopped fine, and the other sliced into rings; sprinkle salt on the onion rings and set aside.

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1 tablespoon garlic paste (6 garlic cloves mashed with salt)

1/3 cup barberries (optional, or can be replaced by golden raisins), rinsed under running tap water before using

1 teaspoon raw sugar (or regular sugar, optional)

1/2 cup pine nuts

1 package cheese such as halloumi or a similar cheese (Joumana uses a Mexican cheese widely available in Texas at various supermarkets)

Serves 4-6.

Preparation:

After washing the greens thoroughly, cut them into wide strips and boil them quickly in a pot of salted water for about 2 minutes until softened. Dunk them into a bowl of ice water, and remove them from the bowl and squeeze them dry. Set them aside on a cutting board.

Heat oil in a skillet and fry the onion rings until browned; remove and drain on paper towels.

Now fry the chopped onion for a few minutes until it gets golden-brown; add the barberries and fry for a couple minutes, sprinkling the mixture with a teaspoon of raw sugar. Add the pine nuts and stir-fry until they get golden. Add chopped greens and mashed garlic and stir-fry for a couple minutes. Set aside in a serving dish.

Add a few tablespoons of oil to the skillet (if needed) and fry the cheese on both sides until golden. Transfer cheese chunks onto the serving platter. Serve immediately with cheese chunks and topped with the onion rings.

Notes from Joumana:

  • It is customary to serve lemon quarters with this dish, to squeeze on top, if desired.
  • I always add the garlic at the end to preserve its pungent flavor; however, here it can be added right after browning the onions.
  • The onion rings can be sprinkled with salt prior to frying to make them purge their juice (and get them crispier when fried).
  • The pine nuts can be fried ahead (or toasted) and added at the last minute.
  • The greens can be boiled or steamed a day ahead as well and fried right before serving with the other ingredients.

“In Lebanon, this dish is a popular one for a mezze, but can be served as a light meal in the home (perfect with a side of fried cheese). If you prefer to use dandelion greens or other greens (radish, beet, Swiss chard, mustard, spinach, or kale), go for it. In this salad, the greens are coated with olive oil and taste rich and mellow. It is served at room temperature for a mezze, but I prefer it slightly warmed-up as a light dinner,” adds Joumana.

For this recipe, go to: https://www.tasteofbeirut.com/turnip-greens-salad/#recipe

ORDER TODAY: Taste of Beirut: 175+ Delicious Lebanese Recipes from Classics to Contemporary to Mezzes and More Paperback – September 2, 2014. Take a culinary journey to the Middle East with Taste of Beirut without leaving the kitchen. Go to: https://www.amazon.com/Taste-Beirut-Delicious-Lebanese-Contemporary/dp/0757317707.

Joumana Accad, creator of the blog TasteOfBeirut.com, is a native Lebanese, a trained pastry chef, and professional caterer. In her debut cookbook, the Taste of Beirut, she shares her heritage through exquisite food and anecdotes, teaching anyone from newbies to foodies how to master traditional Lebanese cuisine. With over 175+ recipes inspired by her Teta (grandmother) in their family’s kitchen, Accad captures the fabulous flavors of the Middle East and makes them completely accessible to home cooks.

References:

https://www.instagram.com/taste.of.beirut

https://www.youtube.com/user/tasteofbeirut

https://www.facebook.com/joumanaaccadtob/videos/spinach-turnovers-taste-of-beirut/10153181235608056/

https://www.pinterest.com/tasteofbeirut/

https://www.starchefs.com/cook/press/chef-joumana-accad-publishes-her-first-cookbook-taste-beirut

 

 

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