Fish and Seafood

Appears in

Classic Turkish Cooking

By Ghillie Basan

Published 1995

  • About
In Islam fish and bread symbolize fertility, and Turkey appears to be resplendent in both. With shores on five seas, it certainly should be fish-rich. The markets still display catches of red and grey mullet, shark, swordfish, sea perch, sea bass, mackerel, tuna, turbot, sardines and many others but, regrettably, the numbers are dwindling, the result of serious overfishing.

The Black Sea is still famed for its anchovies and the infinite variety of dishes prepared with them. Anchovies are salted and dried, pickled, baked in roof tiles, baked into bread and pastries, cooked into rice and soup and even made into puddings. Celebrated in song and parable, the Black Sea anchovy has become almost immortal. But although Izmir and Istanbul still do good trade in the seafood drawn from their waters, the days when people could lean out of their yalı windows along the Bosphorus to buy fish from the passing boats are gone.