Even if I didn’t know what erişte was, a recipe with ingredients like this would attract my attention like a magnet.
|a bowl of delicious köy eriştesi/village egg noodles with sage, walnuts and white cheese|
What do you think?What with our ever-growing interest in doğal or natural produce, simple yet tasty dishes like this are appearing more and more on menus in Istanbul admittedly with a sophisticated touch: in the village erişte is eaten with butter.
We were recently in Assos, our Aegean village, so I asked Hatice if she made her own erişte. What a stupid question: of course she did! It seems that in the villages small groups of women, often family members, work together to make this special kind of Turkish noodle towards the end of summer/early autumn when it’s warm enough to dry it out. It can be made at any time of the year so long as conditions ensure the drying out process. The actual making of it is not particularly difficult and the ingredients are everyday ones: eggs, milk, flour, semolina and salt. Erişte (pron: erishteh) is actually a Persian word meaning strips as this is the shape in which they are cut, flat rather than round.
Here in the city, erişte can be found in the local street markets or in the kind of stores which specialize in traditional local food items. Even larger supermarkets will offer their own particular brand. Some housewives make their own erişte but to be quite frank, I don’t think I’ll be trying any time soon.
But it's the making of the sauce with fresh ingredients that's so important. This particular one is very tasty: the smell of the garlic alone is tantalizing, and when it all comes together, it makes a perfect light lunch or supper dish.
Ingredients for Köy Eriştesi with Sage, Walnut and White Cheese
From ‘Aegean Flavours: A culinary celebration of the Aegean region’s local markets and produce’
By Didem Şenol
2 lt/8 cups water
200g/8oz thinly sliced köy eriştesi
A pinch of salt for the water
50g/2oz chopped walnuts/kırılmış ceviz
1 bunch sage/1 demet adaçayı
1 bunch fresh thyme/1 demet taze kekik
1 sprig parsley/1 dal maydonoz
1 clove garlic/1 diş sarmısak - or more if liked!
100g/4oz white cheese/beyaz peyniri
Freshly ground black pepper
· Boil the water and add a pinch of salt. Add the erişte and let cook for 5-7 minutes with the lid off. Before draining it off, keep aside a glass of the boiling water (this is to keep it moist instead of using extra butter or olive oil).
|toasting the walnuts with the sage and garlic|
· Gently brown the chopped walnuts in butter over low heat. Add the sage leaves and garlic and then the boiling water which was kept aside. Add the erişte and stir.
· Chop the thyme (I DIDN’T HAVE FRESH SO USED A LITTLE DRIED WITH ADDITIONAL PARSLEY) and parsley finely. Crumble the white cheese and add it to the köy eriştesi together with the thyme and parsley. Grind some black pepper over the top.
Serve immediately: it’s delicious!
Mmmm ... go on, try it!