The other day we went out to dinner at a Turkish restaurant and it brought me back to my days studying abroad in Istanbul. Our school was on the Bosphorus River, so after class we’d often walk down the hill to grab some ice cream or tea along the water. I ate copious amounts of ice cream during my time there; there’s this one Turkish brand that is head and shoulders above any other ice cream I’ve had. Actually most of my strongest memories from my time there revolve around food. Fresh baked simit, ripe figs, lamb kebabs, and Shepard’s Salad. In a country where a large percentage of population doesn’t drink, most of our social lives revolved around the breakfast, lunch, or dinner table.
Shepherd’s Salad is an incredibly easy dish to have up your sleeve. The perfect side for summer barbecues, or a spicy main dish. The use of fresh herbs somehow takes it to the next level – elevates it beyond a basic tomato and cucumber salad. The ingredients are simple – fresh tomatoes, cucumber, lemon, and mint are the stars of the show. Add some diced red onion, a little bit of garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper – and you’re good to go!
Serves 3-4 as a side dish
1 English cucumber, chopped
2-3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
A few sprigs of mint, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: A few sprigs of parsley, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
Directions: Add everything together. Let marinate for at least an hour in the fridge before serving.