Although Turkey is surrounded on three sides by sea, it is not very strong on fish dishes. Seafood has not been part of the old Anatolian cooking traditions. Even in the coastal resorts, where seafood restaurants have mushroomed with the tourist trade, locals are not interested. The exceptions are Izmir and Istanbul, both famous for their fish markets and fish restaurants. The usual fare, like everywhere in the Middle East, is grilled or deep-fried fish. Swordfish kebab is a Turkish specialty, but other countries use other firm-fleshed fish, such as monkfish and tuna.
Yield: 4 servings
1½ pounds swordfish, tuna, or monkfish, cut into 1¼-inch cubes
Bay leaves (about 20)
1 medium onion
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and pepper
1 lemon, cut in wedges, to serve
Thread the fish cubes onto wooden or flat metal skewers, alternating with bay leaves.
Liquidize the onion in the blender with the oil, lemon, salt, and pepper and marinate the fish on the skewers in this mixture for 20 minutes, leaving it, covered, in the refrigerator.
Cook over glowing embers or under the broiler for 4-6 minutes, turning the skewers a few times and brushing with the marinade. Serve with lemon wedges.
Marinate the pieces of fish, then thread them onto skewers with alternating pieces of bay leaf and slices of onion, pepper, and tomato, cut to the same size as the fish.