Mezze is often served in small plates that could be passed around just like tapas. Mezze or appetizers in my opinion best expresses the spirit of the Arab hospitality. Guests in an Arab home are never asked if they would like something to eat. Food is Always offered and in abundance. Mezze dining is an experience, a true social event. The mezze dishes are often served in small plates and range from warm to cold salads, olives, pastries, cheese, bread, dips, veggies and meats. I am serving mezze in a new way today just on one platter this is perfect for a smaller party or you can assemble a few for a larger one. i often make this platter for the weekend. Both my kids and my guests get a thrill over the variety of options.
The beauty of mezze dishes are in its versatility. Lots of vegetarian and meat options. There is defiantly something for everyone.
To build the perfect mezze platter or small plates you would need:
Something warm: like meat skewers, or bite size meat morsels, spicy potatoes or falafel.
Cold dishes like a fatoush salad, tabouli, beet and tahini salad etc.
Bread and savory pastries such as meat pies (sfeeha) or a spinach vegetarian version. Cheese pull apart bread.. etc
Raw or roasted vegetables. An assortment of cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes, peppers.. etc or roasted aubergines with sumac and roasted cauliflower with tahini.
Olives and pickles check out this warm mixed olive dish that’s loaded with flavors from the fennel seeds, garlic, orange and lemon and some herbs like fresh thyme and bay leaves. Baked for 30 minutes at 350 and served warm.
Beans: as in hummus, balilah, stewed fava beans. Check out my recipe for the creamiest hummus ever.
Dips: mezze platters are nothing without dips. Such as Muhammara a roasted eggplant & walnuts dip, hummus and baba ghanouj. Check out my grandmothers recipe of smoked tomatoes baba ghanouj
Meat: small bite size pieces of lamb or beef. Shish tawook chicken, meatballs such kaftah...
Store bought items: such as cheeses, roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, labneh or make your own labneh balls by straining the labneh overnight.
Mezze plates are always garnished so beautifully. It’s a feast for your eyes as much as it is for your taste buds. The hummus is always swirled, drizzled with the best olive oil. lots of garnishes such as mint, parsley, lemon wedges and Pomegranate jewels.
The Beauty of mezze is in its versatility each dish can be made as a side dish to a main meal or a few dishes will make up a main meal. Mezze plates would leave you with lots of great leftovers that are perfect for sandwiches, salads so it’s def worth the effort to pull it all together. I know it’s sounds daunting to make all these things but you don’t have to. It’s great to combine things that are store bought and things that you could make or easily assemble together like olives, pickles, cheese etc.
Hope you love mezze dining as much as we do. If we inspired you to make a mezze platter please tag us #almondandfig would love to see your creations.