Mezedes is the Greek word for appetizers, but it can also describe a small plate of snacks served with wine, ouzo or a drink. Greeks don’t drink alcohol without eating a little (or a lot). You’ll experience this both in the bars and if you get served alcohol in friends’ homes. It could be something as simple as a bowl of sliced cucumbers, olives or peanuts, or slightly more advanced, like pieces of grilled squid or sausage. Here are some ideas:
Carrot and Cucumber: Cut vegetables into strips, salt them and serve. If you need enough for an entire party, put the vegetables in ice-cold, very salty brine in the refrigerator, and use when needed.
Feta with Honey: Cube the feta, grind over pepper, and sprinkle some Greek honey on top.
Feta with olive oil: Cube the feta; sprinkle them with a really good olive oil, dried oregano on top.
Cheese with salami: This is found in many countries, but use a Greek cheese and it becomes Greek… Graviera or Kefalotyri are my favourites, both quite hard yellow cheeses with great flavour. Cut them into cubes and attach a small piece of salami on each cube with a toothpick.
Crackers with topping: Use small crackers or small pieces of toasted bread, no bigger than a mouthful, and add a little tirokafteri or olive puree:
- 1 cup black olives
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar or lemon juice
- 3 teaspoons olive oil
- optional: 2 – 3 anchovies
- salt, pepper
Pit the olives. Run everything except salt and pepper in a food processor, season with s + p. Let the puree stand for at least a couple of hours to develop flavour. Add a little puree on top of each cracker.
The puree can be stored for a long time in the refrigerator. (And to add a completely un-Greek thing: Plenty of butter on the toast – before you add the puree – that is seriously good!
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