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    Meze for supper

    A spread of Greek and Middle Eastern dishes makes a great summer meal.

    Serve meze with lavash or pita, romaine leaves and cucumber spears for dipping, and olives, tomato wedges, and feta drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkled with fresh herbs.
    Jim Scherer / Styling by Catrine Kelty
    Serve meze with lavash or pita, romaine leaves and cucumber spears for dipping, and olives, tomato wedges, and feta drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkled with fresh herbs.

    BEET TZATZIKI

    Makes about 2 cups

    Adapted from Spice, by Ana Sortun of Oleana and Sofra fame; beets add an earthy sweetness.

    1½ cups plain Greek yogurt

    1 clove garlic, minced

    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

    2/3 cup shredded cooked beets

    1 cup shredded peeled, seeded cucumber, wrung dry in a dish towel

    ¼ cup chopped fresh mint

    Salt and pepper

     In a medium bowl, whisk the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, oil, beets, cucumber, mint, ¾ teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste until uniform. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to blend flavors, then rest at room temperature for a few minutes to lose chill. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, and serve.

     

    TUNISIAN-STYLE SPICED CARROT PUREE

    Makes about 3 cups

    2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch coins

    1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

    3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

    2 garlic cloves, minced

    1½ teaspoons paprika

    1 teaspoon crushed

    red pepper flakes

    1½ teaspoons ground ginger

    1 teaspoon ground cumin

    Salt and black pepper

    1/3 cup chopped cilantro

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    In a large saucepan with a steamer, steam carrots until very tender, about 18 minutes. Cool, then use a fork to mash to a coarse puree (or puree in a food processor).

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    In a medium bowl, beat the carrot, 1/3 cup oil, vinegar, garlic, paprika, red pepper flakes, ginger, cumin, 1¾ teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste to a coarse, dryish paste (about the texture of hummus). Set aside to blend flavors, about 30 minutes. Stir in most of the cilantro, taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, then drizzle with oil, sprinkle with the remaining cilantro, and serve.

     

    jim sherer
    TIP: Use a dish towel to wring as much liquid as you can out of the cucumber for the tzatziki.

    TUNISIAN-STYLE ZUCCHINI SALAD

    Makes about 3 cups

    ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

    2 pounds zucchini, shredded on the large holes of a grater and wrung dry in a dish towel

    2 garlic cloves, minced

    1 teaspoon ground coriander

    1 teaspoon caraway seeds, lightly toasted

    1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice

    1 tablespoon harissa

    1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

    Salt and pepper

    1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

    In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons oil until shimmering. Add the zucchini (quickly breaking up any clumps with a fork) and cook, stirring minimally, until zucchini is barely tender, about 5 minutes. Set aside and cool to room temperature.

    In a medium bowl, mix the zucchini, remaining oil, garlic, coriander, caraway, lemon juice, harissa, onion, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Set aside to blend flavors, about 30 minutes. Then stir in most of the parsley, taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, sprinkle with the remaining parsley, and serve.

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    LEBANESE-STYLE MONK’S SALAD

    Makes about 3 cups

    3 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped (about 2½ cups)

    Salt and black pepper

    1 eggplant (about 2 pounds), poked a few times with a fork

    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

    2½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice

    2 garlic cloves, minced

    1 cubanelle pepper, seeded and chopped (about ¾ cup)

    5 large scallions, thinly sliced (about ½ cup)

    ½ cup chopped fresh parsley

    ½ cup chopped fresh mint

    1½ tablespoons pomegranate molasses, optional 

    In a strainer set over a bowl, toss the tomatoes with ½ teaspoon salt, set aside to drain for 30 minutes, then blot the tomatoes with a paper towel.

    Meanwhile, prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill on high for 15 minutes. Grill the eggplant until collapsed and the skin is charred, turning as necessary, about 30 minutes. Cool, halve, and scoop the flesh into a strainer set over a bowl; discard the skin. Use a spoon to gently fold the eggplant and expel liquid; continue until liquid stops dripping, about 3 minutes.

    In a medium bowl, mix the eggplant, oil, lemon juice, garlic, 1½ teaspoons salt, and black pepper to taste. Stir in the tomatoes, cubanelle pepper, scallions, parsley, mint, and pomegranate molasses, if using. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, and serve.

    cooking@globe.com