Monday, June 20, 2011

Salads in Iran

The question that always arises around salads in countries like Iran is "How safe is it to eat them?" Reza, our guide, said that most every place we ate would practice safety in handling fruits and vegetables and suggested that we not worry about it. Most people in the group ate whatever they wanted. A few had minor tummy problems but no one was laid flat for long.

I took a measured approach to eating anything uncooked. For the first week or so I stayed away from nearly everything like lettuce, fresh tomatoes, and the like. I did eat peeled fresh veggies like carrots and cucumbers. In the second week I introduced more fresh greens and radishes. By the third week, I too was eating whatever I wanted, including some things in the market that may have been a touch iffy hygiene-wise. But I was perfectly fine.

The salads and vegetable dishes we were offered were just beautiful. They often filled a large table in a restaurant and were self-serve. Until we got accustomed to the fact that these salads were just the start of meal, we would load up—they could have been a meal unto themselves—when, in fact, we needed to practice pacing.

My favorite selection of salads was at a restaurant in Tehran where we ate on a stop-over from Tabriz to Mashhad. There were many many more salads to choose from and all equally beautiful and tasty. The top is potato salad with dill, the next is coleslaw with raisins, and the last is a mix of corn, onions, tomatoes, and herbs.

Occasionally salads would be wrapped in plastic and be present at our places at the table, as in a restaurant in Tabriz.
For one lunch in Yazd, we had a specially constructed salad in the shape of a Persian paisley design which Geri, one of my traveling companions, pointed out to me.
Yogurt with cucumbers or shallots were brought to us in bowls or plastic cartons nearly every lunch and dinner. If you want to try to make your own Yogurt with Cucumbers, click on the recipe title and it will take you to the posting.
A wonderful dish with herbs and eggs, baked like a frittata, called kuku. I'll get you the recipe before too long. The first photo to the left is from the Ferdowsi Restaurant in Tehran and the one below is my own version, called Fresh Herb Kuku, with a nice Patty Pan Squash Salad.
At an Armenian restaurant in Esfahan, I decided to make the salads my whole lunch. Just look at the wonderful plate I made for myself.

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