Tapas and mezze

Proper Tapas and mezze

I love tapas (and mezze); so, we had a small plates dinner for my birthday (Saturday). The picture also provides a serious insight to my varied and eccentric tupperware collection. We also had a great soup, salad, roasted potatoes and dessert, none of which I made, and, of course, the wine! The tapas were my sole contribution to the meal. From top left to bottom right:

  • artichoke ‘butter’ with lemon and thyme;
  • cherry tomatoes;
  • kalamata olive tapenade;
  • avjar (red peppers and eggplant with sunflower seed butter);
  • lentils and caramelized onions;
  • hummus (straight from the package because I ran out of time);
  • sundried tomato, mushroom and walnut pate;
  • shiitake mushrooms poached in tamari and agave;
  • kosher dill pickles;
  • creamy artichoke and spinach dip (heavy on the spinach).

Everything was great (served with whole wheat pita). Although most people think of hummus and a lot of these other dishes as appetizers, tapas are becoming increasingly trendy (again, because they were trendy for a while in the 80s as well). They’re also a lot of fun to make, and they provide a wide range of tastes, colors and textures to the meal. They’re also relaxing, since there isn’t a lot of fussing around with courses, and cutting your food, but it’s a little more intimate than serving buffet.
Tapas/mezze are really a great way to entertain. With so many dishes it’s hard for someone not to find a few things that they like, and the colors are usually very inviting, the food can be enjoyed a little warm, a little cool or just at room temperature. Most of these dishes were made with various nut and seed butters as well (so you get the nutritional value of the seed or nut along with the fat) and tend to keep well.