This cool chicken salad in a creamy walnut sauce supposedly got its name because its color resembles the pale complexions of the Circassian beauties in the sultan's harem during the Ottoman Empire. The mild, slightly nutty chicken is traditionally served as part of a Turkish meze assortment, and can be drizzled with red pepper oil. In this version, Turkish red pepper replaces the pepper oil.
These spicy, tangy cooked carrots are fragrant with cumin, caraway and mint. At Zahav, Michael Solomonov offers them as meze (small plates), but he also recommends serving them tossed with greens as a salad, or alongside chicken or salmon in charmoula.
This Cypriot salad, which is traditionally served as part of a meze along with a glass of anise-flavored raki, is particularly refreshing. Instead of blanching the Swiss chard in boiling water, Musa Dagdeviren rubs salt into the leaves and then wilts them in a warm skillet, thus retaining all the vibrant color and flavor.
Skordalia is traditionally a thick, tangy puree of boiled or baked potatoes (or water-soaked bread) mixed with lots of garlic and olive oil. At the busy new fish restaurant 7 Seas in Thessaloniki, the skordalia is thinned with yogurt and water to make a dipping sauce for tender, anise-accented nuggets of salt cod. In the United States, cod cured quickly at home is usually better than anything you can buy.
Michael Chiarello takes advantage of every hot coal by cooking whole eggplants and onions directly on the embers while grilling fruit and other vegetables on the grate. The eggplant and onions become this smoky dip.
The Egyptian Spiced spice blend known as dukka includes toasted ground cumin, coriander and sesame seeds; Ana Sortun gives it a twist by adding toasted coconut. The carrot dish here is traditionally eaten by first dipping bread in oil and then in the dukka before spooning the puree on top. It's typical of North Africa;s qimia--a version of tapas or meze.