istanbul’s-famous-mackerel-sandwiches

Istanbul’s Famous Mackerel Sandwiches

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Walking along the Bosporus in Istanbul, cookbook author Yasmin Khan recalls the iconic sight of men grilling fresh mackerel to make these sandwiches, known as Balik Ekmek. In her book, Ripe Figs: Recipes and Stories from Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus, you’ll find Khan’s interpretation of the recipe, which she says is great for feeding a crowd at picnics and cookouts. These sandwiches traditionally feature grilled mackerel (always fresh, never canned!), so if you can cook the fish outdoors over an open flame, we highly recommend doing so. Feel free to tweak the ratios of crunchy veg, but the dressing and mint are essential to cut through the mackerel’s intensity. Can’t find fresh mackerel? You can sub in snapper or black bass, but the flavor will be more mild.

Ingredients

Makes 2

Dressing

2

Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2

Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1

Tbsp. pomegranate molasses

½

tsp. Aleppo-style pepper

¼

tsp. sumac

1

small garlic clove, crushed

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

¼

small red onion, thinly sliced into rings

Mackerel and assembly

2

Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

2

6–8-oz. skin-on mackerel fillets

Kosher salt

2

ciabatta or other crusty rolls

1

medium tomato, sliced

Handful of arugula leaves

1

medium carrot, cut into matchsticks

½

cup mint leaves

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