cover image Meze: Small Plates to Savor and Share from the Mediterranean Table

Meze: Small Plates to Savor and Share from the Mediterranean Table

Diane Kochilas. William Morrow Cookbooks, $26 (208pp) ISBN 978-0-688-17511-5

Mezethes (plural of meze, which means middle) are little Mediterranean dishes designed to complement a beverage, tease the tastebuds and encourage diners to linger around a table for good conversation, says Kochilas (The Glorious Foods of Greece), and""variety, playfulness, and surprise"" are key to their preparation. Her nicely illustrated cookbook offers 80 meze recipes to pair with ouzo or Greek wines, and shows American home cooks how a varied gathering of Greek, Turkish and Lebanese flavors--olives, anchovies, cured beef, cheese, good bread--can make for a perfect brunch or buffet spread (though, Kochilas is careful to note, a""meze spread is not meant to be a meal, but a nosh""). Her chapters cover culinary themes such as Dips, Spreads and Relishes, Small Egg Dishes, Finger Foods and Fried Treats, and A Sea's Bounty of Mezethes; dishes range from Fluffy Fish-Roe Dip with Ground Almonds (a variant of the classic taramosalata), to Three-Cheese Phyllo Triangles with Onions and Yogurt, to Marinated Panfried Shrimp in the Shell, to Grilled Greek Meat Patties with Chopped Tomatoes, Spicy Yogurt, and Lemon. (Don't let the long names fool you--these dishes are never difficult to prepare.) These piquant, lively foods are""a savory flirtation,"" and an array of them on a table is a delightful thing.