Entertaining with Mezze: Recipes for Marinated Feta and Baba Ganoush

What are mezze? A delightful appetizer tradition integral to the cuisines of the Middle East, Turkey and Greece. Mezze consist of numerous small tasters, often simple and fresh, which are meant to whet the appetite before a meal along with a drink. The word mezze comes from the Arabic term t’mazza, which translates as “savor in little bites.” I can’t think of a more convivial and pleasurable way to begin a meal with a group of friends than with a sampling of mezze accompanied by a drink on a warm summer evening.

Mezze should always include a sampling of dips, such as hummus or tsatsiki, cruditees, bread and olives. For a more substantial selection add  meat keftas or brochettes, simple salads and dolmas (stuffed vegetables and filled grape leaves.) Keep the portions small, set a table in the sunshine and pour a refreshing drink. Enjoy!

Baba Ganoush

Baba ganoush is a traditional Middle Eastern dip made with roasted eggplant. In this recipe I have added chickpeas to give the dip more structure. Makes about 2 cups.

1 large eggplant
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup tahini
2-3 garlic cloves
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Tabasco
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley leaves

Pita bread for serving

Preheat oven to 425 F. Roast the eggplant over a gas flame or on a grill until the skin is charred on all sides. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until very soft when pierced with a knife, about 25 minutes. Remove and cool. Peel away the skin and scoop the flesh into a bowl of a food processor. Add all of the remaining ingredients except the parsley. Pulse to combine. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight to let flavors develop. Before serving stir in 1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves. Serve with pita bread.

Marinated Feta with Lemon
Makes about 2 cups

1 pound feta cheese, drained, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1-2 fresh thyme sprigs
1-2 fresh oregano sprigs

Pita bread for serving

Place cheese in a shallow bowl. Whisk remaining ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour over cheese and gently toss to combine. Fold in thyme and oregano. Refrigerate 2-3 hours or overnight. Before serving remove thyme and oregano sprigs. Serve with additional black pepper and pita bread.

21 thoughts on “Entertaining with Mezze: Recipes for Marinated Feta and Baba Ganoush

  1. We are such huge fans of this type of meal here at my house…your photos are gorgeous, as always, and I am going to have to try your marinated feta and “baba g” recipes. So nice to speak to you yesterday btw 🙂

  2. The feta looks wonderful – and it’s something we always have on hand. I’ll be referencing these recipes again soon!

  3. As a Greek, I always appreciate some good mezze. I am supposed to be bringing an appetizer to a party and couldn’t think of anything good- very good ideas here, thank you!

  4. I love these pictures. The recipes sound wonderful as well. I’m going to remember them for my next dinner party.

  5. Wonderful post, and amazing photos!

    Loved it all – by the way, I cannot live without hummus, but baba ganush is a close second 😉

  6. Just found your blog….can’t wait to try the recipes and your photo’s are outstanding!!!

  7. Mezze is my favourite way to eat, I love your baba/hummus hybrid and can’t wait to try it. Lovely blog, by the way, glad to have found you 😀

  8. How lovely! I threw a tapas party a few months ago. You’ve just inspired me to make it a Mezza party next time. I love Middle Eastern food. I’ve been making it and eating it for years. I’ll take your suggestion and hold the party outside in the sunshine!

  9. I love love love mezze! One of my favorite parts of living in the Middle East. I make baba ganoush often but have never put chickpeas in it, great idea. Beautiful photos as always.

  10. This looks so good! I’ve got an eggplant in the oven roasting now and I’m going to try baba ganoush with chickpeas this time! thanks

  11. WOW…what a fabulous looking spread, my Lebanese in-laws would approve! The marinated feta recipe is going into my book right now. – S

  12. wow great blog I love your recipes and your pictures, congratulation for the top 9
    ciao from your new follower from Italy

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