A Middle Eastern mezzah platter filled with spiced chickpeas, fried halloumi cheese, a vegetable salad, pita bread and olive oil and za'atar for dipping. Serve as appetizers or a meal.
- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- 2 t baking soda
- 1 pound Persian cucumbers, quartered lengthwise and diced into ½
- 1 pint cherry or tear drop tomatoes, quartered or halved
- ½ pound radishes, diced into ½
- 1 red pepper, seeded and diced into ½
- ¾ cup red onion, peeled and diced into ¼
- 1 large handful mint, stems removed and coarsely chopped
- 2 large handfuls parsley, coarsely chopped
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 T lemon juice
- 1½ T Sherry wine vinegar (Jerez vinegar)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 t superfine sugar
- 6 T olive oil, divided
- 4 T Za'atar spice
- ½ t salt
- Halloumi cheese, sliced or feta (optional)
- 6 slices pita bread, quartered (optional)
- ¼ cup za'atar spice (optional)
- 1Soak the chickpeas in a bath of water and baking soda overnight. The water should be several inches above the chickpeas to allow for the chickpeas to swell and absorb the water. Drain and transfer chickpeas into a large saucepan. Add water, again several inches more water than chickpeas, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for about an hour until tender, but not falling apart. Check for doneness after 45 minutes. Periodically skim off any foam that develops on the surface of the water. Drain and reserve.
- 2Combine cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, red pepper, onion, cilantro and parsley in a large bowl. Set aside.
- 3In a small bowl, combine zest, lemon juice, Sherry wine vinegar, garlic and sugar. Whisk in 5 T olive oil to form an emulsion. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- 4Combine za'atar and ½ t salt on a plate. Toss the chickpeas in the spice mixture to coat. Heat 1 T olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and fry the chickpeas in batches, 3 - 4 minutes, stirring. Keep warm.
- 5Optional: Just before you are ready to serve, grill the halloumi cheese slices in another skillet until brown on both sides, 3-4 minutes. Alternatively, you can sprinkle a bit of feta on top of the salad.
- 6Toss the chopped vegetables in the dressing and arrange on a platter. Arrange the warm chickpeas, grilled halloumi cheese, and pita bread slices around the salad.