With my brand-spanking-new (aka no food spillage on pages yet) Ad Hoc at Home cookbook in hand, I decided to find one of the easier recipes to start with… you have to ease into these kinds of things to build confidence! I found the winner in Marinated Feta with Olives which can be served in tangent with several other small dishes to culminate in a festive meze platter. Meze is a selection of small dishes typically found in Mediterranean and Middle East cuisine; “meze” is a term found in all cuisines of the former Ottomon Empire. In Turkish, meze means “taste, flavor, smack, relish” and in Persian, مزه (maze) means to “taste, snack.” Whenever Natalya and I go our favorite live jazz + Turkish restaurant, Antique Garage, we love ordering the meze platter to enjoy whilst listening to the smooth alto sounds…
Meze platters are a great way to open a meal in place of a salad; there is more socializing as everyone passes around the series of small plates. Keller says to put together the platter as you would a meal: “a balance of flavors and textures, proteins, starches, and vegetables, with a mix of acidity and sweetness and of spicy and savory flavors complementing one another.” In traditional meze platters, common food items found include white cheeses such as feta or halloumi, thick yogurt (Tzatziki or Tahini Yogurt), kalamata olives, seafood, spicy meatballs, sausages, hummus, eggplant salad, fried vegetables, garlic toast, and the list goes on. Eventually when I get enough recipes, I will probably make an aggregate Meze post!
Marinated Feta with Olives
- 3 oz feta, cut into 1/2″ cubes
- 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp thyme, finely chopped
- 1 2″ rosemary sprig
- 1/2 tsp chopped chives
- 1 piquillo pepper, cut into thin strips (can use any roasted peppers, these are found packed in a jar at the store)
- 1 C mixed olives
Put the feta in a small bowl. Pour the oil over, add the herbs and pepper, and gently stir to combine.
Let sit at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours. Just before serving, add the olive, mixing them in gently. Enjoy!