Middle Eastern Tapas

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I had a few friends over this past weekend and I decided to make some Middle Eastern tapas.  One of the main reasons I wanted to create Middle Eastern tapas was because one of my friends is following the Paleo diet.  The Paleo diet is focused around an intake of natural high protein and fiber, low carb and low sugar foods.  I wanted to make sure I had foods that accommodated my friends dietary needs, as well as satisfy the guys’ appetite, and Middle Eastern tapas seemed like a perfect fit.   

The menu included:

Mazza platter of feta, olives, hummus, pita bread and tabouli lettuce wraps

Gyro spiced chicken wings with taziki dipping sauce

Spanakopita pizza

I started marinating the gyro spiced chicken wings the day before to make sure the flavors infused into the wings.  This recipe is for 3 lbs of chicken wings.

Gyro spice rub and marinade:

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1 Tbs. cardamom

1 Tbs. cumin

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

1 lemon juiced

5-6 sprigs mint with stems roughly chopped

1 garlic clove crushed

2 tsp. honey

First mix all the dry ingredients together and rub them into chicken wings.  Place wings in a large plastic bag.  Then mix the remaining wet ingredients and pour on top of the wings.  Let wings sit for at least 3 hours but up to 24 hours, turning every so often.  Place wings on a pan and broil on low for 30 minutes, 15 minutes per side.  Serve with Taziki dipping sauce. (click here for recipe)  Yup, these are finger licking… that good!

To stick with the Middle Eastern Tapas theme I wanted to make something revolving around the spanakopita savory salty flavors.  Here’s my version of spanakopita pizza:

4 large cloves garlic

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1 package of premade naan pizza dough

1 cup spinach, roughly sliced

½ cup Greek feta cheese

½ cup sundried tomatoes dried or in olive oil, sliced

Dash red pepper chili flakes

Salt to taste

Olive oil

Cut the end off the garlic cloves and place in aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil.  Place in a 350-heated oven for 40-50 minutes. 

Squeeze the garlic out of the peal and smear the garlic all over the pizza crust.  Then place spinach, feta and sundried tomatoes all over the crust.  Bake the pizza according to the premade pizza dough directions. 

Once out of the oven, sprinkle with a dash of red pepper chili flakes and a drizzle with olive oil.  Double the recipe if you have two crusts per package. 

All the flavors worked so well together and were certainly a crowd pleaser. 

I always love hosting friends for snacks and wine but I certainly love having taste testers to help determine whether or not the recipes are worthy of sharing.  These tapas were just that, delicious.