Mixed Mezze Turkish style

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A fantastic mixed started plate of Turkish delight's!!!!
Fried mussels with tarator sauce, Stuffed grapeleaves and crispy fried, stuffed aubergine.

Fried Mussels with tarator sauce
Midye Tavasi

Tarator is a general name given to nut sauces thickened with breadcrumbs, usually flavoured with garlic and thinned with lemon juice or vinegar. These style of sauces are popular in Syria and Lebanon as well as Turkey, and while walnut sauces are the most common, almonds, hazelnuts, pinenuts or pistachios can also be used. In general , walnut and hazelnut sauces are thinned with vinegar, while almond and pinenut sauces are thinned with lemon juice.
Teradot is a tarator made with tahini used instead of the breadcrumbs. Tarator is best made a few hours ahead of serving to allow the flavours to blend and develope, it thickens upon sitting.
Tarator is also delicious served on cooked vegetables and fried fish.


For the Tarator sauce;

125g walnuts, toasted and finely ground
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
60g fresh breadcrumbs
125ml olive oil
60ml red wine vinegar
salt to taste

For the mussels;

40 mussels, srcubbed and debeareded
150ml white wine
300g plain flour
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 eggs, beaten
375ml water
Vegetable oil for deep frying


For the Tarator;

Combine all of the ingredients together into the bowl of a blender fitted with a metal blade, process until smooth. The sauce should be the consistancy of thick mayonnaise, if to thick thin with a little water. Season to taste with salt. Cover and set aside to allow flavours to develope.

For the Mussels;

Soak 12 bamboo skewers in water for 30mins, then drain.
Discard any open mussels that do not close when tapped, as they are dead.
Place a pan over high heat. When hot add the mussels and the wine, cover with a thight fitting lid and cook for 2-3mins, or until all mussels have steamed open. Remove all of the mussels from their shells and thread about 3-4 mussels on each skewer.
Spread the flour on a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper, place the beaten eggs into another dish and mix with the water.
In a deep pan add the oil and heat to 190c. When the oil is ready, dip each skewer into the seasoned flour and then into the egg mix and then back again into the flour. Working carefully in batches, slip the skewers into the hot oil and deep fry until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3mins. Remove from the oil and serve with Tarator sauce on the side.

Stuffed Grapeleaves

The Turkish word for dolma means "to stuff," and dolmas or stuffed grapeleaves, come with two types of fillings; rice or meat and rice. The meatless dolmas are called yalanci of "liar" dolmas because they look like meat filled grapeleaves. Rice filled grapeleaves are served cold as a first course or as part of a mezze assortment. They can be accompanied with lemon wedges or yogurt. Than same mixture can be used to stuff almost vegetable or even mussels.


220g long grain rice
3tblsp olive oil
2 onions finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1/2tsp cinnamon
1/2tsp allspice
125g peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes
75g pinenuts toasted
90g dried currants
2tblsp chopped flat leaf parsley
2tblsp chopped mint
salt and freshly ground pepper
36 bottled grapeleaves, rinsed of brine, well drained and steamed
250ml olive oil
2-3tblsp lemon juice


In a bowl combine the rice and water to cover. Let stand for 30mins. Drain.
Place a saucepan over medium heat and add the onions and saute, stirring occcasionally, until tender and transucent, about 10mins. Add the garlic, cinnamon and allspice and cook for a further 3min, transfer to a bowl.
Add the drained rice, tomatoes, pinenuts, currants, parsley, mint, salt to taste and a good amount of pepper. Mix well.

To assemble;

Place the grapeleaves on a work surface, smooth side down. Place a teaspoon of the filling near the stem at the end of the leaf. Fold the stem end over the filling and roll up the leaf into a cylinder. Do not roll to tightly as the rice will expand when it cooks.
Arrange the dolmas, stem side down in a wide saute pan. Pour the olive oil and the lemon juice over the dolmas and add enough hot water to cover. Weight down with a plate making sure all of the dolmas are submerged in the liquid. Bring to the boil, cover, reduce the heat to a very low simmer and cook for 45-50mins or until the filling is cooked through.
Uncover the pan immediately so the dolmas cool very quickly and transfer to a plate as soon as possible. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days before serving.
Bring to room temperature before serving.

Deep fried, stuffed aubergine
Patlican Boregi

I love the different sizes and shape of aubergine that you will find all over the Mediterranean. They are such a versitle vegetable. They can be found in saucea, relishes, as a starter oe on a kebab.
In this recipe you will find these little filled sanwiches either served as an appetizer, as part of a mezze plate or they can also be offered as a vegetable accompaniment to a main course.


3 small aubergines, about 250g in total weight, peeld and sliced into12mm thick
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
270g Kasseri or Feta cheese, crumbled
3 eggs
2tblsp chopped flat leaf parsley
1tblsp chopped dill
150g plain flour
200g fine dried breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil for deep frying


Preheat the oven to 200c.
Place the aubergine slices on an oiled baking sheet and brush with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 15mins or until almost cooked through.

In a bowl combine the cheese, 1 egg, parsley and dill. Place a heaped spoonful of filling on half of the cooked aubergine slices. Top with a second slice around the same size, then press together. Place the flour and the breadcrumbs into seperate trays. Break the remaining two eggs into another bowl and beat lightly. Dip each of the aubergine sandwiches first into the flour then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs, coat evenly. These can now be stored in the fridge ready to deep fry. Bring the aubergine to room temperature before fying.

Heat the oil to 190c. When the oil is ready slip the aubergines sandwiches carefully into the oil a few at a time. Cook for 2mins on one side only. Using a slotted spoon remove them from the oil and allow to stand for 1 min to melt the cheese, then return then to the oil top side down to fry until golden on the other side, 2mins longer. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

Serve all 3 of these dishes with the Tarartor sauce for an authentic Turkish mezze plate.

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