I’ve never smoked so much in my life – the good kind of smoking, that is! I recently attended Shane Delia’s ‘Smoking in the Kitchen’ master class at Adelaide’s Tasting Australia event. Shane taught us how to make a Smoked Turkish Salad with halvah and smoked macadamia nuts. Halvah means ‘sweet’ in Arabic and is made from sesame flour and honey. Halvah is very sweet, indeed, but if you use it sparingly, it provides a wonderful contrast to the other flavors in this recipe. The crowning touch is the Turkish Black Chilli sprinkled on top of the salad, giving it a gentle fruity, peppery flavour.
Shane is the chef/owner of the restaurant Maha in Melbourne, renowned for its modern Middle Eastern cuisine. He was also the host of his own TV show called Spice Journey, which led his viewers on a delightful culinary journey through the Middle East, including Lebanon and Iran.
First, Shane taught us how to smoke the macadamia nuts, Turkish bread and salt flakes using a smoking box filled with smoking wood chips or saw dust (I used hickory saw dust for my salad). To add further flavor, I added some sage leaves on top of the saw dust. (Note: you can buy the smoking box and saw dust at Barbeque specialty stores, such as Barbeques Galore in Australia and the USA).
Next, place the smoking box directly on top of the stove top (glass top stoves are easiest, but you could also use gas or electric grill stoves). After several minutes, ribbons of smoke will start to rise from the smoking box- wait another 3 – 5 minutes until smoke really starts to billow.
Then, place the smoking box inside a pan large enough to hold your macadamia nuts, salt flakes and Turkish bread. Immediately cover the whole pan with aluminum foil and wait at least 15 minutes until all ingredients have been smoked. (I recommend taking the pan outdoors while it smokes).
Next step is to coarsely grind the macadamia nuts with mortar and pestle. Sauté two shallots in a pan with some butter, add 40 ml red wine vinegar to the pan, along with the crushed macadamia nuts and some fresh torn sage leaves. Simmer for several minutes.
Now you’re ready to assemble the salad. In a large bowl, add enough salad greens to serve four people. Add 2 -3 tablespoons of olive oil to lightly coat the salad mixture. Now add the shallot/macadamia nut mixture from the pan, some ham pieces (I used torn Serrano ham), small pieces of the smoked Turkish bread and a little bit of crushed halvah.
Finally, cap the salad with a poached egg and sprinkle the smoked salt flakes on top of the egg, along with some Turkish Black Chilli. This is a wonderful substitute for pepper- it has a gentle heat, a slightly fruity flavour with some chocolate undertones. If you can’t find this chilli, then you can substitute fresh ground black pepper. Serve the salad warm or at room temperature.
- Wood chips or saw dust for smoking
- Sage Leaves (optional)
- Salt flakes placed in small container
- 100 grams Macadamia nuts placed in small container
- Slab of Turkish Bread
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- Ground macadamia nuts (smoked)
- 40 ml red wine vinegar
- Several torn sage leaves
- Mixture of Salad Greens to Serve 4
- 2 - 3 tbsp. olive oil
- Serrano ham pieces (or other ham)
- Small amount of crushed Halvah
- Smoked Turkish bread pieces
- Shallot/Macadamia mixture from pan
- Salt flakes and Turkish Black Chilli
- Poached Eggs
- Fill the smoking box 1/2 full with either wood chips or saw dust. Refer to the directions provided by the manufacturer. Add some torn Sage leaves on top (or orange or apple peel) for additional flavors.
- Place the smoking box directly on top of the stove burner. Wait for several minutes until the mixture starts to smoke, letting it smoke for an additional 3 - 4 minutes. Remove from heat using an oven mit.
- Place the smoking box inside large pan holding the macadamia nuts, salt flakes and slab of Turkish bread. Immediately cover the entire pan with foil and let smoke for at least 15 minutes.
- Remove macadamia nuts from pan and coarsely crush using mortar and pestle.
- Over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp. butter to pan. Gently sauté the diced shallots, then add the crushed macadamia nuts, red wine vinegar and several freshly torn sage leaves. Let simmer for several minutes.
- Add salad greens to a large bowl, enough to serve four
- Add enough olive oil to lightly coat the salad greens (2-3 tbsp.)
- To the salad, add some ham pieces, a small amount of crushed halvah to taste and the shallot/macadamia mixture from the pan. Break the Turkish bread into small pieces and add that to the salad.
- Serve the salad into 4 separate bowls. Add a poached egg on top of each serve. Garnish with the smoked salt flakes and some Turkish Black Chilli or freshly ground pepper.
- Salad can be served warm or room temperature.