Most people order Zankou’s chicken when they first come to Zankou. How could you not, it’s in the name. Still, depending on which chicken you order (rotisserie or tarna), you’ll want the perfect side dish to match the flavors. That’s where a brief overview of Mediterranean side dishes will come in handy. You might not know what “mutabbal” or “tabbouleh” are, but the fun is in the exploration.
Most people know hummus, and most of those people know that the base ingredient for hummus is the garbanzo bean. Meet the eggplant counterpart to hummus: mutabbal. First, the eggplant is grilled and Zankou Chicken uses organic spices to give it flavor. Fresh garlic from California is added, along with tahini (sesame seed paste), olive oil and paprika on the top. It’s a creamy dish, offering a variety of flavors. You shouldn’t taste the eggplant or any one particular spice. Instead, it should be a creamy kind of flavor all on its own.
In the Arab world, people gather for a mezze before dinner. A mezze is like the space between dinner where your family and friends drink and talk together. Tabbouleh is one of the most popular dishes served during this time, and it’s become a delicious side dish for Mediterranean food in the West. Tabbouleh is made of simple ingredients: tomato, parsley, bulgur, and green onions mixed with olive oil and lemon juice. It’s tangy and crunchy, like a mini salad.
Peppers and Pickles
If there is one thing Mediterranean food has, besides something creamy, it would have to be something tangy or spicy. Pickled beets or pepperoncini’s satiate that hunger. Pickled peppers are quite popular throughout the Arab world, and it’s common to find them served with food. People eat them whole or put them into their food for extra flavor.