We had a couple, who are good friends, as guests for the long holidays at the beach. They wanted to be referred to as RAM for this post since their names begin with R and Mâ€¦ They volunteered to prepare a lunch for one of the days of their stay and they decided on a Mediterranean influenced Greek/Middle Eastern/Italian appetizer/dip/salads spreadâ€¦ When they arrived at the beach, they unloaded a shockingly large amount of ingredients/food in several coolers and boxes and bagsâ€¦it looked like they were going to cook for a small army. But the totally ambitious, delicious and over the top spread featured several dishes, but in the end, they only made about 60% of what they had planned for the first lunch (so of course, they cooked most of the second dayâ€™s lunch as well) since we were all afraid we would physically explode from the number of dishes! If only we have 10 or more Marketmanila readers to help us finish the food that lunch! What was on the menu? Feast with your eyesâ€¦ up top, a mixed plate with a little of everything. Here on the right, M chopping like crazy several bunches of parsley and herbs for the various salads and dips, and below a partial photo of all the dishes for lunchâ€¦
We had a wonderful oven grilled fennel salad with sliced oranges, red onion and a orange and olive oil vinaigrette. It had some chopped herbs and olives for saltiness. This was superbâ€¦a nice variation on a fresh fennel and citrus saladâ€¦
A second salad on which tasted wonderful but involved a phenomenal amount of prepwork was a taboulleh or parsley salad. This one had some bulgar wheat, chopped tomatoes and cucumbers as well and a lemony dressingâ€¦
We also had a salty and intense black olive tapenadeâ€¦
A creamy hummus made from chickpeas (garbanzos) and tahiniâ€¦
A tatziki or cucumber, yoghurt and herb dipâ€¦
A baba ghanoush or eggplant dipâ€¦
â€¦and some pesto made with fantastic fresh basil and toasted pine nuts mixed with lots of parmigianno reggiano and pecorino romano. Not photographed were some mixed red and yellow grilled peppers and of course, lots of pita segments for the dips. Together with some nice white wine or sparkling water, this was a perfect vegetarian yet incredibly satisfying lunch!