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Mediterranean Grilled Banana Chilli Salad

The recipe comes from Mediterranean coast of Turkey. I spotted this recipe in my archive about two weeks ago and the copy of it was buried under a pack of quinoa in my study- at the moment my study is full of cookbooks, product review material like the empty boxes and notes attached to them. When I finally made it the other day along with other things, I had a fortunate accident. Instead of adding sweet paprika (Turkish style) I added smoked sweet paprika (Spanish one)! I guess it is still Mediterranean.

Well, I am happy that it turned out to be delicious despite the accident and I didn’t have to replace the salad in another geographical region. My advice; let those fortunate accidents happen.

4 banana chilli
½ white onion, chopped finely
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sweet paprika or smoked sweet paprika
1 tsp sumac
Continental parsley leaves, chopped

• Wash and dry the banana chillies. Cut off the stalky end and halve them lengthwise. Remove their membrane as well as the seeds.
• Put the grill on and place the banana chillies under the grill –close to the element.
• Grill them until their skin blisters.
• Remove from the oven and place a tea towel over them. When they are cool to handle, carefully peel the skin off. I usually do this on a large, flat plate and have another plate handy for the skin.
• Transfer them onto your chopping board and cut them into small pieces.
• Place the onions in a small bowl and add salt. Knead the onions with your hand. Make sure that every layer is separated and rubbed with salt. Fill the bowl with a little bit of water. Rinse the onions, squeeze them in batches with your hands. This will draw out the moisture so that you won’t have a watery salad. Still, you might be wondering the purpose of this exercise. This is something I learnt from my mother. Apparently, salt draws out the bitterness of raw onions and make them easier to digest especially if you have a sensitive stomach.
• In a mixing bowl, mix together the raw onions, banana chilli, sumac, paprika of your choice and chopped parsley. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Stir well.
• Arrange the salad on a serving plate and enjoy!

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