Piyaz is what we call bean salads in Turkey, but the term is actually Persian and means "onion". Piyaz usually made with cannellini beans and kneaded onions; dressed in olive oil and vinegar; seasoned with pepper flakes; and decorated with tomatoes, parsley and hard-boiled eggs. Depending on the region piyaz could have green onions or sumac. In Antalya, a beautiful city with wonderful beaches and rich history on the Mediterranean coast, piyaz is done differently than the rest of Turkey. The difference is tahini and garlic, which put me off on my first try because it was so different and incredibly rich from the piyazs I was used to. In Tekirdag, my hometown, and in Antalya piyaz usually served with grilled meatballs. I have eaten different versions of Antalya Bean Salad for years. Sometimes the difference is how it's served; with or without onions, sometimes it's the beans; sometimes the beans are served warm and sometimes at room temperature; and sometimes it's the sauce; Some add smashed or mashed beans to the sauce, others add some sugar to balance the tahini, and others add cumin which I loved. This is how I make my Antalya Bean Salad to be grilled meatballs at home.
2 cups cooked cannellini beans (save the cooking water)
1 small onion, finely chopped in julienne or crescent moons (in Antalya they serve the diced onion, but I prefer julienne)
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 or two hard-boiled eggs, sliced or grated (I don't eat cold eggs so I'll skip this one)
1 tomato, peeled if you feel like it and diced
1/2 cup tahini
4 tbsp vinegar, red wine or apple
Juice of half a lemon
2 chopped garlic cloves
1/4 – 1/3 cup of olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin if you want to try cumin
– Soak the beans overnight. Bring them to a boil, then cook them over medium heat until soft but never mushy. You should hold up well. Save the cooking water. OR, of course, use canned beans.
– First mix the tahini and vinegar in a bowl to a smooth consistency. It will get lumpy; It's okay, it will loosen up. Just keep stirring.
– Add chopped garlic, salt and garlic. When the sauce is thick, here we slowly add the bean cooking water, a couple of tablespoons at a time. Use a whisk to remove lumps. Add water until you have a smooth tahini sauce, but it's not very runny. The tahini sauce shouldn't be too runny or too thick. Different brands of tahini have different densities. Finally add lemon juice and half of the olive oil and whisk again.
– First, put the beans on a plate (I like the version with warm beans so I keep the beans in the pot until I serve them to keep them warm). . In Turkey, piyaz is usually served on oval, slightly deep platters so you have enough sauce to dip your crusty bread in.
– Cut the onion into thin julienne slices and knead with 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Rinse off the excess water and squeeze out and place on the bean.
– Add diced tomatoes.
-That's where the boiled egg will come from. You can add the chopped or grated egg.
– Pour the tahini dressing evenly over everything on the plate.
– Sprinkle finely chopped parsley on top.
– Finish with the rest of the olive oil and serve with a lemon wedge or half a lemon on the side, as there is no piyaz that is "too sour". Piyaz is usually thrown on the table and you have to soak the juice with bread!