charcuterie spread charcuterie spread How's this for party creativity? (Photo: Daxiao Productions / Shutterstock)

Mezze: How to prepare a Mediterranean party plate

We’ll help you construct a party-ready appetizer spread that celebrates the best part of entertaining – sharing great food with great friends.

Hot wings are to Super Bowl parties as cake is to weddings. But what if you fixed up something a little different for that truly American gathering of football adoration? Chances are, your guests would appreciate the creativity, down to the last bite of their favorite Mediterranean finger foods.

So we're breaking down the steps to the perfect Mediterranean appetizer spread (also known as mezze), one food type at a time, for the party platter your guests will be enjoying well past halftime – and you don't have to be a presentation pro to achieve it.

Meats

sliced cured meatsSliced cured meats like salami and ham are sure to please the afternoon party crowd. (Photo: Denis Vrublevski/Shutterstock)

Meat platter? How about a charcuterie, s'il vous plaît? It's a French appetizer course of cooked and dry-cured meats, sausages and other savory morsels. But you don't have to call it that. Meats like hard salami and capicola are perfect for this festive occasion.


Cheeses

Tzfat cheese, milk, cottage cheese, wheat and oat grains on old wooden background.Tzfat cheese is a gourmet cheese in Israel that's made from sheep's milk. (Photo: Karaidel/Shutterstock)

Swiss and cheddar are great for the six other days of the week. But today, we're eating tzfat, a semi-hard, salty gourmet cheese from Israel. This cheese pairs well with thinly sliced roasted eggplant and many varieties of bread. Nothing too salty, though – the cheese takes care of that all by itself. You can find Tzfat cheese at many Mediterranean groceries and online.


Veggies

TabboulehTabbouleh is a Mediterranean salad. (Photo: Miriam Kresh)

A fresh, aromatic display of vegetables as part of a hearty mezze platter lets your guests know you care. Not only about their enjoyment of your food, but their health as well. A Mediterranean salad like tabbouleh caps off the spread quite well. Roasted eggplant, a lovely pairing for the aforementioned tzfat cheese, is a must. A dash or two of za'atar pulls the whole thing together effortlessly.


Dips

Hummus dipHummus dip is a crowd-pleaser. (Photo: Anna_Pustynnikova/Shutterstock)

No mezze is complete without the all-important pureed chickpea-tahini-garlic combo we all call hummus. But don't stop there! Any dip or spread – coupled with a generous helping of pita bread – will impress any and all guests, but hummus spreads are almost required for this arrangement. Most grocery stores stock a varied selection of hummus, from edamame to beet to the quintessential chickpea base.


Nuts, fruits and other bite-sized goodies

sugar-coated peanutsThese classic sweet and crunchy coated nuts are easy to make and a delicious snack. (Photo: Sarah F. Berkowitz)

Ah, the palette cleanser. You've been eating the whole game and you have no idea what the score is. You're not sure your guests know, either. So those grapes, figs, candied nuts and other sweet nuggets aren't just hitting the spot – they are the spot. Mezze 1, Every Other Super Bowl Party 0.

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Related Topics: Healthy eating, Recipes