Mediterranean Tapas

Mediterranean food continues to grow in popularity, not only for its great taste, but also due to its many healthy ingredients like fresh herbs, vegetables, and olive oil, which resonate with customers. Start with a familiar ethnic dish like tabbouleh and challenge yourself to make it better. The addition of a trending grain like farro, juicy in-season heirloom tomatoes, and a second green like baby kale is a simple way to give this basic salad a boost. Turn hummus into a signature item by preparing it with charred eggplant and fried chickpeas and serve with a basket of fresh, warm pita bread. Earthy, terra cotta-colored bowls and plates further enhance the authentic appeal of this dish. Maines can help you choose serving ware from a wide variety of options that will best complement the items on your menu.

Farro Tabbouleh with Heirloom Tomatoes over Baby Kale Salad with Roasted Eggplant Hummus
Farro Tabbouleh with Heirloom Tomatoes over Baby Kale Salad with Roasted Eggplant Hummus
Parsley Oil
Roasted Eggplant Hummus
Massaged Kale Salad
For Serving
For the Farro
  1. Place the farro in a bowl; cover with cool water and refrigerate for 10 hours. Place farro in a chinois; rinse under cool running water until water runs clear.
  2. Heat water to a boil in a saucepan; add farro and remaining ingredients, making sure farro is completely submerged. Reduce heat to low; simmer, covered, 25 minutes until farro is tender.
  3. Drain and discard the aromatics. Spread farro on a parchment-lined sheet tray; refrigerate to cool. Yield: 3 cups.
For the Tabbouleh
  1. Whisk shallot, lemon juice, orange juice, honey, salt, and vinegar in a bowl. Slowly drizzle in oil while whisking to create an emulsion.
  2. Combine parsley, mint, salt, farro, and dressing in a bowl; toss to coat and let sit 10 minutes to marinate. Fold cucumber into farro mixture; season with pepper to taste.
For the Parsley Oil
  1. Blanch parsley with stems intact for 10 seconds; shock in ice water. Drain; pat dry with paper towel.
  2. Purée parsley with 1/3 cup oil in a blender. Transfer to a bowl; whisk in remaining ⅔ cup oil. Refrigerate 1 day; line a sieve with cheesecloth. Set sieve over a container; ladle the Parsley Oil into prepared sieve. Transfer to a squeeze bottle for service. Refrigerate up to 1 week. Yield: 6 fluid ounces.
For the Roasted Eggplant Hummus
  1. Roast the eggplant on a sheet tray at 400°F for 30 minutes; cut 1 eggplant crosswise in half and reserve for service. Roast remaining eggplant 10 minutes longer or until softened. When cool enough to handle, cut eggplants lengthwise in half. Scrape eggplant from skins with a spoon and place in a food processor; discard skins.
  2. Drain chickpeas, reserving the liquid. Purée chickpeas and remaining ingredients in a food processor. With processor running, add reserved chickpea liquid, 2 tablespoons at a time, to thin hummus to achieve a silky consistency; adjust seasoning.
For the Kale Salad
  1. Whisk oil and lemon juice in a bowl; season with salt to taste.
  2. Thirty minutes before serving, place kale and dressing in a bowl. Massage the kale between your hands for 3 minutes until kale begins to wilt and becomes soft.
To Serve
  1. Toss tomatoes with oil and lemon zest. Cut reserved eggplant into 2 pieces. Layer kale salad, farro mixture, and tomato mixture on a plate; drizzle with parsley oil. Place hummus in a shallow bowl; top with 2 eggplant pieces. Drizzle hummus with oil; sprinkle with smoked paprika and toasted chickpeas. Serve with pita bread.