I’ve translated the word ezme, which literally means ‘crushed’, as ‘salsa’ because it’s chunkier than a sauce but runnier than a dip, and because it contains the New World ingredients chillies and tomatoes. The secret to making a great ezme is never to use a food processor. Instead, you should chop it finely just before you take it to the table.
Ezmes are served in kebap houses to lubricate the palate before the meat arrives. The waiter just plonks a few small plates on the table when you sit down, and you spoon them up while you discuss what kind of kebap you might order. The spiciest ezmes are made in Gaziantep.
Score a shallow cross in the base of the tomato. Put in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 30 seconds, then plunge in cold water and peel the skin away from the cross.
Cut the peeled tomatoes into quarters and scoop out the seeds. Slice the peppers and discard the stalks and seeds. Pick the parsley leaves and discard the stalks. Preferably using a mezzaluna, finely chop the tomatoes, parsley, peppers, red onions, garlic and parsley together into a chunky purée.
Drain off any excess water from the chopping board and then transfer the purée into a bowl. Add the isot, capsicum paste, pomegranate molasses, olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt, and stir well to combine.
Decorate with pomegranate seeds, if using, then serve the bowl of antep ezme with grilled pide.
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