A meze is a small dish, served as a collection of appetizers before the main course in a Mediterranean meal. In Turkey, for example, they keep on bringing plates after plates of these mezes and you get to taste small portions of each with fresh bread. Mezes are an important part of the culinary experience as you sit down with family and friends, enjoy the conversation and of course the delicious food! It’s not that you overeat – even though you are tempted to – because the quantities are small and each meze is shared by everyone on the table. Different types of cheese, olives, pickles and meats are presented in a huge variety of mezes. Eggplant based dishes are quite popular as mezes, they can be made easily and they taste delicious!
Recently, we started a small vegetable garden in our backyard. We planted three Japanese eggplants, and now that they are bearing fruit, we have been making some of our favorite eggplant dishes including mezes. It is amazing to see these eggplants grow starting out from the beautiful purple flowers. Here are a few pictures of these eggplants and the twins having fun with them!
Anyway, here is an eggplant meze recipe one of our friends recently made for a party:
- 2-3 eggplants, peeled and cut into cubes
- 2 tomatoes, crushed in a food processor
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- Salt, black pepper, red pepper to taste
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3-4 olives
Add eggplant cubes to a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Add warm water if needed, until eggplant cubes are soft and cooked well. Remove from the pot and rinse off excess water in a colander. Mash the cooked eggplant in a plate until it turns into a mushy mix.
Add olive oil to a pan on medium heat. Add garlic and crushed tomatoes and mix well. Cook on low-medium heat until soft, stirring occasionally. Add eggplant, salt, pepper and fold in with a spatula to mix well. Add in the heavy cream and allow it to cook a little more until absorbed. Remove from the pan, garnish with olives.
Serve warm or cold.
By the way, did you know that eggplant is actually a fruit, although it is cooked like a vegetable. Check out a few interesting facts about eggplant and another one of our favorite recipe for a grilled eggplant and yogurt salad.