Vera’s Almodrote

February 21st, 2011  | Category: Friends, Travel, Vegetable, Vegetarian

Vera's Almodrote 1

Here’s the first dish Vera prepared with the ingredients we bought from the Alaçatı farmers market: Almodrote de Kalavasa. It is a zucchini flan with Sephardic origins and very close to the zucchini au gratin my mother used to make when I was a little boy.

Actually, not much has changed since then; I still don’t get excited about zucchinis (unless they’re fried). So when Vera mentioned she had two dishes in mind that involved zucchinis, I didn’t jump up and down but the polite me nodded with a nice smile and off we went to the market.

Vera Zucchini

We filled Vera’s shopping bag to the brim and came back home. You’ve already seen the photos.

Vera's Almodrote

After a short coffee break (which also involved cookies with a generous amount of Biscoff spread in between), Vera peeled the zuccihinis and grated them with the largest holes on the box grater. Next, she squeezed as much of the juice as possible and drained them well.

Vera's Almodrote 3

Vera's Almodrote 6

Then she cut a large piece of the country bread (called Germiyan) we bought from the market, dampened it with little water, squeezed to drain and added to the grated zucchini together with the finely chopped dill…

Vera's Almodrote 2

… followed by an egg and lots of feta cheese (called white cheese in Turkey). She mixed and mashed everything together with a fork until just combined and it was done.

Vera's Almodrote 5

The white cheese we used was quite salty, so we didn’t add any extra salt, but I strongly suggest tasting the mixture first and seasoning it accordingly.

Just when I stopped taking photos of the almodrote, I turn back and see Vera starting a new project: Börek, which is a traditional Turkish layered dough dish.

Almodrote

You can find a recipe similar to what Vera prepared here.

And here’s another Sephardic dish, making use of the zucchini peels leftover from the almodtore. Cut them into squares, place them in a pot with a bit of water, chopped garlic, juice of half a lemon, salt and black pepper, and 20 minutes later, you have another zucchini dish, called Kashkarikas.

Kaşkarikas

Just before the Almodrote goes into the oven, we sprinkled Gouda cheese on top. 45 minutes at 400F, here’s the result:

Vera's Almodrote 4

Maybe because of the fact that straining the juices concentrated the zucchini flavor, but even though she added no oil, there was almost a fried zucchini taste.

Almodrote freezes very well, so feel free to divide the batter between four smaller gratin dishes and freeze for up to a month. The smaller portions can be served as a side dish, but add a salad next to it and lunch is ready.

Hope you like it.

VERA’S ALMODROTE RECIPE

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds (3 large or 6 medium) zucchinis
  • 12 oz feta cheese
  • 6 oz (preferably stale) bread
  • Small bunch of fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • 4 oz Gouda cheese, shredded

Methodı

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F.
  2. Place a sieve on top of a large mixing bowl and grate the zucchinis with the largest holes on a box grater into the sieve. Squeeze with your hands to get rid of excess juice and transfer to a 9*9 inch baking dish.
  3. Dampen the stale bread, squeeze to drain, tear into smaller chunks and add to grated zucchinis together with the chopped dill.
  4. Crumble the feta cheese and add it on top. Crack an egg on top, grind some black pepper to taste and mash everything with a fork.
  5. Flatten the mixture gently with a spatula and sprinkle the shredded Gouda cheese on top. At this point, you can wrap the almodrote and freeze for up to a month. You do not need to thaw, just add 5-10 minutes to cooking time.
  6. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 45-55 minutes or until the almodrote is cooked through. If the cheese on top seems to be burning too quickly, place an aluminum foil on top halfway through baking.
  7. Let it cool down for 10 minutes, then serve.
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Comments

  1. 1 - Caffettiera on February 21st, 2011

    Yes, it is not very easy to get excited about zucchini. You managed to make me, though.

  2. 2 - Theodora on February 21st, 2011

    Great recipe. I’ll make it in may or June or July or in August when they are in season :) )) Thanks for sharing :) Greets form Macedonia :)

  3. 3 - ALACATI on February 21st, 2011

    Yummy! Going to be making both of those soon..will have to use these recipes! Thanks for sharing Vera and Cenk..great photos…

  4. 4 - Monique on February 22nd, 2011

    I am loving your series on Alacati. How lucky that you got to see the farmer’s market and are eating such wonderful food. I love the simplicity of this and that it only requires a baking dish. Will have to try this at home!

  5. 5 - Hope on February 22nd, 2011

    Thnx for the recipe :)

  6. 6 - frozsgy on February 22nd, 2011

    Excuse me for my curiosity but I wonder who is Vera? I’ve checked lots of pages to find out who is she and I couldn’t get an answer. Thanks:))

  7. 7 - Jennifer on February 22nd, 2011

    Cenk, I am in love with your blog! It’s been up on my computer for days and I just can’t help going through all your posts! Everything looks so amazing and I cannot wait to make this zucchini!

  8. 8 - martina on February 22nd, 2011

    that is an AMAZING kitchen!! i’m (zucchini) green with envy!!

  9. 9 - Annika on February 23rd, 2011

    Wow, I love that picture of Vera. What a fantastic kitchen space! And the use of the Champagne cooler is nice too.

    I was wondering how traditional the recipe actually is. Is Gouda a staple of Turkish cooking?

  10. 10 - Cenk on February 23rd, 2011

    Thank you all for the nicest comments. I realize this is an off-season post. Ever since I started working on my book, I’ve been struggling with keeping my blog alive with new posts and have to make use of recipes I’ve worked on previously. Plus, it was either now or (maybe) next summer, during which I’ll be crazy busy taking photos for the book. I’ll make sure to remind you of the recipe when the time comes.

    frozsgy – Vera is a friend of mine. Here’s a link to all the posts tagged with the keyword Vera.

    Annika – Gouda is certainly not a staple of Turkish cooking, but that was what we had and I think it works even better than kaşar cheese, which is traditionally used.

  11. 11 - Ena on February 24th, 2011

    I made it for lunch today, it’s really good and so easy and quick to make. Everyone at the table loved it! I’m not usually quick in the kitchen but the preparation took only about 10 minutes.

  12. 12 - Robin on February 26th, 2011

    Cant wait until summer so me and my boy can make this together. Two of my favorite ingredients, zucchinis and feta cheese.

  13. 13 - Silent Knight on February 26th, 2011

    Saw this a couple of days ago, got the ingredients and tried it yesterday. Very simple to make (Even for me)and tasted delicious – everyone enjoyed it.
    Love your kitchen if only mine was bigger.
    Thank you for the recipe, I am going to now try some more of the recipes from your site.

  14. 14 - Melisa Cakir on March 15th, 2011

    i just tried this recipe and im more than content with the result. it was so easy to make and also very delicious. i surprised my mom with this dish and she was shocked, because i never cook independently and it actually tasted amazing.
    well thanks for that :)

  15. 15 - Sonya on March 29th, 2011

    Beautiful, I’m loving zucchini more now. )

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