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Dinner? Or a dinner party? You decide. The very definition of mezze is a jumble of small snacks eaten together as a meal. While you can certainly serve these recipes individually, we think mezze begs to be an occasion. It wants to be a party.
As with any gathering, success lies in inviting guests who will not only enjoy each other’s company but will also add to the flavor of the evening. This mezze board serves 8 to
10 people, so consider that your magic number.
To really impress (and to not be stressed in the moment), you’ll want to have everything finished and the spread assembled before your guests arrive. The exceptions are the mushroom flatbread and the halloumi fries. If you’re adding either of those as accompaniments to the mix, they are best served warm from the oven.
Set the scene
To pull off a mezze party, you need a very large board or platter. Layered with fruit, vegetables and dips, this becomes the centerpiece of the table. You’ll want to have room on the table for additions like the phyllo cups and the poached shrimp. Set the table with small plates, napkins and flatware – all the better if they’re mismatched in color and pattern. The idea is to create a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach.
We say mezze, you say maza
There is some debate, but it’s believed that the word mezze stems from the Persian word maza, which means “to taste.” (The ancient Persian empire once encompassed what is modern-day Turkey, Iran, Egypt and parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan.) It’s fair to say that the mezze tradition – an array of regional foods eaten together – has outlasted its origins.
A shared table
Mezze underscores the power of food in bringing people together. Think of the platter as a way of exploring a region rich in flavors, cultures and traditions that reach back to the days of the spice trade. Food is not, however, without controversy, and it’s important to understand those nuances. In particular, hummus, a common staple of the mezze platter, can be a divisive topic. As Yotam Ottolenghi writes in his award-winning cookbook Jerusalem, “Political and nationalistic discussions about hummus – where it started and how… are almost compulsive.”
The key to these little phyllo cups is patience – first when misting each layer with oil, then cutting them to size and again after baking. You want to wait until the last minute to fill them, lest they become soggy. Get the recipe here.
Salty, crispy and chewy, these halloumi fries are sure to become a regular in your recipe lineup. The real kicker, though, is the spicy honey. You’ll find yourself drizzling it on all
sorts of things. Get the recipe here.
Mushrooms are having their moment in the sun, and why not? They’re jammed with fiber, protein and antioxidants. Get the recipe here.
Poaching shrimp rather than grilling or sautéing ensures that they cook gently, so you never have to worry about them being rubbery or tough. The olive-oil bath also adds rich flavor. Get the recipe here.
Put all these recipes together for an Instagram-worthy spread. In addition to being beautiful, the wealth of vegetables, fruit and dips means this platter is perfect for guests with a variety of dietary needs. You can replicate our gorgeous board to a tee or apply our tips and recipes to your own custom-curated spread. Learn how to do it here.
From Spring 2022