Hendbeh b zeit is a mezze table must! Traditionally, the bitter, dark green leaves of wild dandelion are required. But substitutes are easy: Kale or Swiss chard is as good as dandelion, or try any kind of dark, bitter greens. Just follow the recipe!
For the record, I like my tabouleh lemony, with a note of hot green chile pepper, transforming each mouthful into a fresh hit of flavor on a hot summer day.
Baa’leh (purslane) is a secret herb of Lebanese cuisine. Its “meaty” leaves, “iron-y” taste, and dark green color make it very special.
Batata harra means literally “hot potato” (as in spicy), as it is a fried potato (baked in some lighter versions!) that is seasoned with the coriander-garlic power couple and hot pepper, or red chile flakes. Batata harra is a must for a mezze table.
Batata jezzynyieh is the town of Jezzine’s take on batata harra, but made with cumin, the South’s spice.
Armenian cuisine is sophisticated and has a taste of its own. Itch is basically the Armenian version of a tabouleh. Itch is mainly fine-ground bulgur soaked in a tomato-based sauce.
Hummus is the definite non-home food—even if you find it often in home-cooked meals. A good restaurant is measured to the quality of its hummus, and hummus in the old days used to be bought at the souk fawwal only.
I believe that cauliflower expresses itself best when fried! It is just a yummy taste, with a contrast between the crisp florets and the soft stalks.
Moutabal, otherwise known as baba ghanouj, or France’s caviar d’aubergine (eggplant caviar), must definitely figure in the top 10 of the best foods in the world!
Fattoush comes from Arabic fatta, meaning “break,” from breaking the grilled Arabic bread (pita) over the fattoush. If you’ve ever heard of the Montagues and the Capulets, it is the same as with fattoush and tabouleh! There is a constant dilemma of choosing between one and the other for a mezze . . . or maybe just go for both.