Canim Ciğerim, Istanbul, Turkey (Guest Post)

Flori was my boss at Melrose and Morgan.  Day one as Executive Chef, Flori sat me down and told me what’s what, whose who and how the chain of command was going to go.  Her at the top me expediting her wishes.  I sat through the speech and nodded and wondered how she would take it if I gave her a hug.  A big squeeze that would make her ribs crack.  Although her CV was long and impressive for someone so young; The Fat Duck for 2 years, Cottesbrooke Estate, and the Admirable Crichton she wasn’t in any way mean or rough but sweet and kind.

We became friends.

Now Flori lives in Istanbul with her daughter and her husband (also a chef).  Since these days I consider it an accomplishment if I manage to leave the house for an hour (I optimistically had a reservation at Dock Kitchen on Monday which I had to cancel when Layla showed signs of falling ill after a horror week of the twins being ill).

After some pestering, Flori has written a guest post for me.  Enjoy!  I am a liver fiend so the idea of liver kebab is right up my alley!….

“Anyone for liver ? (ciger) For most people it’s a bad taste memory but here in Turkey, it is some thing that’s sought out. Tiny cubes of lambs liver are grilled on long thin skewers over hardwood coals. The garnishes and the setting add to the experience.  

It’s Thursday night. A balmy turkish evening.  The three of us wait on the tiny cobbled backstreet for a table. No one complains as we all know it’s worth the wait to be seated  at a low table and stool. The choice is easy: liver or meat (no more information is provided about the ‘meat’) . 

 We perch on our stools chattering away jovially in a happy anticipation.  I run over my rudimentary Turkish in my head so that I might order.  Not that I need to know that many words, besides the liver and meat, beverages are limited to water, Ayran or coke .

The restaurant is sparse, the only decoration comes from the branded coca cola napkin dispensers and paper place mats.  Our table is soon piled high with plates of mint, parsley, lemon wedges, chillies, rocket, chilli dusted raw onions and plates of Ezme (a mix of finely diced tomatoes onions and pomegranate molasses , made on a well-worn chopping board with a tomato smashing usta or “master”). The skewers come accompanied by a basket of thin warps which are used to grab the meat off the skewers.  To that you add some of the accompaniments to tailor your kebab to your tastes.  More often than not, I overfill the wrap and find I can no longer close it.  No matter, the dribbles on my pretty frock are entirely worth it and I marvel how something so simple can be so good.

When our bellies are full, we survey the table.  It is a state of chaos.   We leave the restaurant full and happy.  “

Canim Ciğerim
Minare Sk. No: 1
Beyoğlu
T. 212-252-6060

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