I have a slight obsession with Turkish grocers. I keep reading articles raving about Danish food culture, the NOMA effect and so on but I’m not sure I have seen the effects of it as much here in Aarhus. Every single article mentions how you can now buy foraged herbs in Danish supermarkets. I’m not sure if this is a Copenhagen thing, or some kind of elaborate hoax being played on hapless journalists. ‘Quick, it’s that guy from the Guardian, break out the emergency sorrel’. This trend does not seem to have made its way further afield. In fact, getting fruit and vegetables outside of a supermarket is pretty tricky from what I can see, unless you really stock up at the weekly market.
This is where Turkish grocers come in, as a good source of fresh fruit,vegetables and most importantly, herbs. I have recently discovered a fantastic one near my flat, complete with a million different kind of olives, haydari, and huge bunches of parsley, coriander, dill and mint. This is helpful when working your way through Ottolenghi recipes, which inevitably call for bushels and bushels of fresh herbs. This recipe is adapted, given that finding a decent looking tomato in the midst of Danish winter is as likely as a Michelin guide reviewer venturing outside Copenhagen. Instead, I have substituted sweet red peppers, which work just as well, if not as authentically. You can however get buttermilk in every shop, as the Danes have a tradition of drinking buttermilk, which I haven’t seen elsewhere. It seems to be a longstanding one, as James Joyce writes about it in his book ‘The Cats of Copenhagen’. At least I am not the only Irish visitor to these shores that finds this a bit unusual.
Serves 2-3 as a side
- 1 flat bread
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 cucumber, or 2 mini cucumbers, diced
- 5-6 radishes, sliced thinly
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- 1 bunch fresh mint, chopped
- 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 200ml buttermilk
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp dried mint
- 1/2 tbsp sumac
- Put the flatbread in a hot oven for 1-2 minutes to crisp up (alternatively use a hot frying pan)
- Tear into small pieces.
- Put all the ingredients but the bread and sumac into a bowl.
- Mix them all up well.
- Leave aside for at least 10 minutes for the flavours to combine (if leaving for more than 30, put in the fridge).
- Add in the bread and sprinkle with sumac just before serving.
- Season well with salt and pepper.