Saturday, August 11, 2012

Favorite Mediterranean Flavors

Take a look at this mezze plate:

From top left (clockwise):  eggplant, chick pea purée, tabouli, white cheese with mint, another scoop of tabouli
I love, love, love these flavors!  Especially when you can mop it up with Lebanese style flat bread.  And yes, that's extra olive oil poured on top...a must!

What's interesting about the eggplant "mash" (that's what I'll call it) is it's texture.  Here in France, a variety of it is made and called "caviar d'aubergine".  The texture is all about smoothness (or so I was taught).  I like this rustic, highly textured variety - made especially interesting with the addition of red peppers, herbs and onions.  It was tangy, smokey, slightly spicey and full of eggplant goodness.  I just love how the color stays so light & refreshing.

Now, look at the tabouli.  Notice how different the tabouli pictured here is from the other tabouli we have come to know and love.  Here, it is all about the parsley, then tomatoes, a bit of mint, and finally, you see there is a small bit of bulgur.  Perhaps this looks unappealing (it doesn't grab me visually, I will admit), however, whatever it lacks in looks, it more than makes up for in taste!  It is a must try.  I will start to do some recipe testing because I am now an addict and the habit is too expensive to support on the market! 

For the chickpea purée:  it is much creamier compared to "normal" hummus.  This one had a more pronounced taste of tahini (sesame seed paste) than I am accustomed to.  Very miam (that's french for yum")!

The last item here is "fromage blanc" (white cheese).  Fromage blanc, I admit, still puzzles me a little.  From where I come from, there is no such thing as fromage blanc.  Perhaps the closest we get in the US is cottage cheese, but it's completely smooth here!  It reminds me of a thicker greek yoghurt.  Anyway, no matter how I try to describe the texture, I can say that the taste is pure delight!  The added mint brings a refreshing aspect to the dip.

A take-away portion for 2 people:  30€ (including the bread which only cost 0.70 centimes!).  

I will report back with any success on the parsley tabouli and eggplant "mash"!  And I hope you have a chance to try these things.  You can find them at most open-air food markets in Paris, and at specialty middle east "traiteurs" (caterers).  And baguettes work just fine in case you don't have that flatbread...



Anonymous said...

Thank you for the excellent posts!

Anonymous said...

Hi I think that your blog is very nice!

tsnenty said...

Your article is very unique for me, thank you .. now I have the inspiration

Unknown said...

One of my friends in training was Lebanese and brought tabouli to a party -I was smitten! It's so refreshing on a hot summer day!