I wrote in my first book, From Tapas to Meze: "First courses are meant to stimulate the appetite, not satiate it. The host often prepares them ahead of time to avoid being trapped in the kitchen and missing all the fun." This is so true! I also love to entertain by making an entire meal out of small plates, so my guests get to taste a variety of different flavors, inspired by one country or perhaps the entire Mediterranean! Here is a collection of delicious first courses.

Albondigas - Tiny Spiced Meatballs with Tomatoes
Asparagus Cheese Puffs
Baked Crepes with Creamy Wild Mushrooms and Prosciutto
Braised Artichokes Stuffed with Sausage and Mushrooms
Brown Butter, Walnut, and Cheddar Wafers
Cheddar-Crusted Corn and Tomato Tart
Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Chorizo and Cheese Puffs
Chorizo Hand Pies
Creamy Parmigiano Reggiano Flans with Tomatoes
Crostini with Artichokes and Olives
Crostini with Dried Fig Paste and Goat Cheese
Crostini with Fennel Sausage
Crostini with Herbed Goat Cheese and Wilted Baby Spinach
Crostini with Sheep's Milk Ricotta, Asparagus and Mint
Crostini with Smoked Trout and Lemon Zest
Croutons with Brandade
Frico with Bacon, Potato and Montasio
Fritatta with Potatoes and Spiced Red Peppers
Fritto Misto with Salsa Verde
Gnocchi with Roquefort Cream
Grilled Bread with Fava Beans and Escarole
Moroccan Baked Phyllo Rolls with Shrimp and Scallops
Pimientos de Padrón
Pita Crisps with Spinach, Walnut, and Garlic Puree
Potato Latkes with Roasted Spiced Applesauce
Rice "Olives"
Scalloped Oysters
Sizzling Garlic Prawns with Hot Pepper and Amontillado Sherry
Smoked Cheddar Twists
Spicy Feta Dip
Spiced Hummus with Preserved Lemons
Spicy Sausages with Tomatoes and Olives
Straw Potato Cakes with Smoked Salmon and Caviar
Sweet Vidalia Onion with Chili Catsup
Tomato Bruschetta
Warm Chickpeas with Spinach (Hummus Ma'sabanegh)
Warm Olives with Fennel and Preserved Lemon
Warm Stilton and Mushroom Galette
Wild Mushroom & Blue Cheese Crostini

Zaatar Spice Blend