Mediterranean dips on the mezze table
Warm bread, torn and dipped in freshly prepared mediterranean sauces and salads are the basis of mezze.
It starts with a bottle of olive oil, a basket of pitta or focaccia and some seasonal crudités. You then add to the table a jewel-like mosaic ( inbetween 3 – 10 different dishes) of glistening colours and tastes.
Mezze means in Persian ‘a pleasing taste.’
There are three secrets of a good mezze table:
1) Be surprising. Enhance the appetite for what is to come. Think Canapés.
2) Be sensual. Give pleasure for the eyes as well as the mouth and sense of smell.
3) Be satisfying. Think mediterranean abundance.You should be able to eat as much or as little as you please at a buffet.
Have you tried this recipe for Houmus? A north African cousin to the Middle Eastern houmus uses broad beans (fava) instead of chick peas – or split green peas in Tangiers.
‘Byesar’ is both a vegan and gluten-free dip. Traditionally the bread is first dipped in ground spices such as thyme or za’atar.
Byesar / Fava bean dip
115g dried beans (fava), soaked overnight
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 tbs olive oil
fresh mint leaves, to garnish
extra cumin seeds, cayenne pepper
Put the soaked beans in a pan with the whole garlic cloves and cumin seeds, and add just enough water to cover.
Bring to the boil, then reduce heat until beans are tender.
Drain, cool and slip off the outer skins of each bean.
Puree the beans adding sufficient olive oil and water to give a smooth, soft dip. Season to taste with salt.
Garnish with mint, cumin seeds and cayenne pepper and serve with warm pitta bread.
What is your favourite mediterranean style dip?