Mezze, meze or mazza platters are popular finger foods grazing boards throughout Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and North African countries. Mezze platters can include hot or cold, spicy or savory dishes. Different countries add different finger foods or small plates and some adhere to strict religious observations so they so vary. The word mezze originated from Turkey meaning snack or appetizer and it came from the Persian word maza meaning taste or relish. So it is the perfect dish to share with guests, any time.
There are so many, many choices to serve on your mezze platter, you can’t go wrong. I like to fill my Mezze platters with healthy and delicious dips, vegetables, cheeses and breads. There isn’t a specific serving dish, so feel free to use the platter or board of your choice.
HERE’S HOW I ASSEMBLED MY PLATTER
With so many quality items, assembling a mezze platter can be done in a matter of minutes. The key is to select a platter large enough to spread out and display all the delicious small plates. I used a long, rectangular white platter and two small bowls for the dips.
My platter includes: Hummus, red and yellow bell pepper slices, sliced feta cheese with an olive oil drizzle and fresh cracked black pepper, dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), cherry tomatoes, pita wedges, cucumber slices, Kalamata olives and Baba Ghanoush (roasted eggplant dip).
I started by placing two dip bowls on opposite ends of the platter – just for easy access as guests dive in and scoop up some dip. Then I began to add the other items around the dips. For example, next to each dip, I placed cucumber slices and bell pepper strips for symmetry. In the center I added feta cheese slices, dolmades, cherry tomatoes and lined the back with bite-size pita wedges. I filled in the gaps with Kalamata olives and finished with a pop of green parsley around the dip bowls.
There’s no set way to way to arrange the food, but starting with larger items like dips helps you gauge your space. Then move onto the medium sized items and fill in the gaps with small items. Fruits and olives are great ways to fill in gaps. Finish by tucking in a little green parsley or rosemary for a pop of color.
Tip: Since this is finger food, make sure that everything is bite size so your guests are not able to double-dip. While double-dipping may be acceptable somewhere, it’s frowned upon here. Don’t make it hard on your guests and keep this in mind when setting up your mezze board.
When plating the dips, use the back of a spoon to swirl around the top and create a few indentations. This allows the olive oil to pool in a few areas and it looks very appealing. Sprinkle the Hummus with cracked black pepper and the Baba Ghanoush with paprika. You can also garnish the dips so your guests can easily identify them. To the hummus, add a few roasted chick peas. To the Baba Ghanoush, add a few diced pieces of fried eggplants. Both of these garnishes add color and texture. If serving Tzatziki (cucumber yogurt dip), add a few cucumber chips or make a rose out of a thin strip of cucumber.
OTHER MEZZE OPTIONS
Tabbouleh (vegetarian salad) | artichokes | roasted red bell pepper | walnuts | assorted olives | assorted cheeses | roasted eggplant slices | Greek fava | dried fruits | radishes | anchovies | bread sticks | assorted cured meats such as sausages | the possibilities are endless.