Persian Cheese and Herb Platter

March 20, 2017
Food,Recipes

I owe every ounce of my obsession with Persian food to my best friend’s mom, who is one of the most amazing cooks I’ve ever met. She introduced me to a world of saffron, dried limes, sumac, kashk, rose water . . . so many ingredients and spices that I just love. I’m sure everyone says their mom is the best cook, but in this case, Noushi is really something else. On Friday nights, she opens her house to anyone and everyone for an Persian food feast– sometimes she’ll whip up dinner for 30 some people. We typically gorge ourselves on the piles of fresh sangak and all the French feta, yogurt, fresh herbs and fruits that are beautifully displayed in her kitchen. But, we always somehow manage to squeeze down the mounds of stews and perfectly jeweled rice for dinner. If you haven’t noticed on YUM, we’re pretty big fans  cheese platters and I thought why not do change up the classic western cheese platter for this Persian one? It is so so good and easy to create– the key is having fresh herbs and bread (Tip, if you’re in Orange County, you are in luck because Wholesome Choice makes fresh sangak, so warm, fresh and chewy, you’re only allowed to buy two at a time!) You may not be able to find all these ingredients as some are pretty unique, like French feta and lemon basil, but you can create your own riff on this with whatever you can find. The only two things I insist on are French feta (yes, not all feta is Greek and there is a huge difference) and using whole fat yogurt in the cucumber-mint yogurt. I hope you become just as obsessed with these flavors as much as I am!

Persian Cheese and Herb Platter | HonestlyYUM (honestlyyum.com)

Persian Cheese and Herb Platter | HonestlyYUM (honestlyyum.com)

Persian Cheese and Herb Platter | HonestlyYUM (honestlyyum.com)

Persian Cheese and Herb Platter | HonestlyYUM (honestlyyum.com)

Persian Cheese and Herb Platter | HonestlyYUM (honestlyyum.com)

PERSIAN HERB & CHEESE PLATTER

Ingredients:

  • small bundles of fresh herbs: dill, tarragon, mint, cilantro, lemon basil, Persian chives or green onions (with top greens trimmed off)
  • Radishes
  • French feta
  • Sour cherry preserve
  • Fresh sangak, nan-e barbari or even lavash if you’re having a hard time finding Persian bread.
  • Persian cucumbers
  • Walnuts
  • Mast-o-khiar (cucumber mint yogurt) (see below for recipe)

Ingredients for Mast-o-Khiar:

  • 2 Persian cucumbers or 1/2 English cucumber
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of dried mint
  • 1 1/2 cups of labneh or full fat thick Greek yogurt if you can’t find labneh
  • Sea or kosher salt

Directions:

  • Toast the bread lightly and arrange bundles of herbs on a large platter. Add bowls of the yogurt and French feta and add walnuts and radishes and tuck in whole Persian cucumbers.
  • To make the cucumber-mint yogurt, dice 2 Persian cucumbers by slicing the cucumbers at an angle about 1/4 inch thick and then stack them and cut them into 1/4 inch match sticks. Then cut them across so you have small cubes.
  • Combine the cucumbers, mint and labneh and mix. Add a pinch of salt and stir to combine.

(images by HonestlyYUM)

Conversation

Dear Karen, as a Persian I must say the platter looks ammmmazing and I totally understand your love for it. Sangak is absolutely the best bread ever. I can marry it :)))))
another thing you’ll love is Kahoo-Sekanjebin! Kahoo is lettuce and Sekanjebin is a syrup made of sugar, vinegar and mint boiled in water. we get a piece of lettuce and put a part of it in Sekanjebin and then eat. it’s a tradition for the 13th day of spring (it was yesterday) when we all go to parks and rivers and jungles. (I’s called Sizdah-Be-Dar day)
another use of Sekanjebin is in a cool drink for summers. we pour it in cold water and add grated Khiar (cucumber) to it.
You said you loved jeweled rice. I highly recommend you to try Baghali-Polo with Lamb, Lubia-Polo and Tah-Chin too! Also you must try Gilaki Foods from north of Iran like Mirza-Ghasemi and Aloo-Mosamma and Also Foods from South of Iran like Mahi-Shekam-Por which is a fish cooked with greens and spices in oven.
you know what? you gotta come to Iran!

Such a gorgeous platter – I’m ready to skip dinner and just dine on this! 🙂

What a gorgeous presentation. I am more of a fan of mast-o musir, though they are both delicious! Happy Nowruz!

I absolutely love mast-o-khair! I grew up with a grandmother who added dried rose petals for special occasions 🙂

I too am a lover of Persian food and this cheese platter looks amazing. Though I have to say you really did hit on the nail when you placed the sour cherry preserve on top of the feta. I grew up eating that and to this day NOTHING in the world tastes better than freshly baked bread topped off with feta and drizzled with sour cherry preserve.
Thankfully, I have some in my fridge. After seeing this, I know what breakfast I am having today.
🙂

Ah thanks! Glad you know about the sour cherry preserve/feta combo too 😉 So good!!

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