Dawn Viola is a research and development chef and food writer. She serves on the board of directors for Slow Food Orlando, and works with local and national companies as a healthy recipe consultant with a focus on organic, local and sus...
When good friends come together to celebrate the year end, not just any party food will do. The word tapas loosely translates to the modern day “small bite” or “small plate” and typically consists of Mediterranean-inspired appetizers. Here we've paired an easy cracker, a baba ghanoush recipe and a classic steamed mussels dish, keeping true to the regions along the Mediterranean Sea.
In the bowl of a standing mixer with dough hook attachment, add water and oil. Add flour, salt and baking powder. Mix for three minutes on medium speed until smooth. If mixture is dry, add 1/2 teaspoon of additional water at a time until a smooth ball forms. Remove dough from mixing bowl. Wrap dough in plastic wrap; refrigerate 30 minutes or until ready to bake.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Remove dough from refrigerator; divide in half. Stretch each piece of dough over the back of a sheet pan; edges should be hanging off the sides. Let stand two minutes; trim edges flush with pan. Using a mister, lightly spray dough with water or oil; sprinkle desired toppings (coarse salt, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, fennel seeds, black pepper).
Place pan in oven. Bake seven minutes or until lavash is light golden brown and crisp. Remove pan from oven; let stand five minutes. Break lavash into small pieces. Store lavash in an airtight container up to three days.
Baba ghanoush recipe
1 large eggplant
5 cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon tahini
2 teaspoons ground cumin seed
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the eggplant in half, lengthwise, and place on a baking sheet, cut side up. Place the five cloves of unpeeled garlic onto the baking sheet. Slather two tablespoons of olive oil all over the eggplant and garlic cloves. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes or until tender and caramelized. Remove from oven and cool for 30 minutes.
Scoop the flesh of the eggplant into the bowl of a food processor, discarding the skin. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, cumin, curry powder and yogurt. Squeeze roasted garlic cloves out of their skin and into the bowl. Process until smooth, add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with lavash crackers, warm pita or bread, or as a vegetable dip.
Steamed mussels with herbs recipe
2 tablespoons salted butter
1/2 cup diced onion
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon capers, chopped
1/4 cup favorite white wine (I prefer something sweet rather than dry)
1 cup chicken broth
Zest of one lemon
3-4 thyme sprigs
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parley
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter over medium heat in a Dutch oven or large pot. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic and capers, stir to incorporate flavors. Add wine, chicken broth, lemon zest and thyme. Taste broth and add salt and pepper to taste.
You're ready to add the mussels! Gently add your cleaned and picked through mussels to the pot and increase the heat to medium-high. Steam the mussels until they open.
Remove the thyme stems from the pot and sprinkle mussels with chopped fresh parsley.