Naan-o Paneer-o Sabzi (Bread, Feta and Herb Platter)
The heart and soul of the Iranian table, this humble and satisfying meal is a simple combination of briny cheese, fresh herbs, walnuts and flatbread. Taken together, they make a perfect bite, known as loghmeh in Persian. A summer platter can include cooling watermelon, crunchy grapes and crisp Persian cucumber. Think of the suggestions below as an open canvas and add your preferred summer fruits and vegetables. Enjoy this for breakfast or brunch with a cup of hot black tea, as an afternoon snack, or as a beautiful, refreshing and light dinner with a glass of your favorite beverage. This is meant for those long, lazy summer nights when all you want to do is nibble and get lost in good conversation with good friends.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1cup walnut halves
- 5to 6 ounces lavash or pita bread, cut into smaller pieces
- 10ounces feta cheese, sliced or cubed
- 1bunch Persian basil or sweet Italian basil, lemon basil or Thai basil (see Tip)
- 1bunch mint
- 4scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
- 1small watermelon, cut into wedges or cubed
- 1bunch radishes, cut into quarters or slices, or kept whole
- 4Persian cucumbers, cut into halves or slices, or kept whole
- 1bunch grapes
Step 1Traditionally, walnuts are soaked to remove their bitterness and to make them crisp and more digestible. If you’d like to soak them, place them in a medium bowl and add a pinch of salt and enough ice-cold water to cover by 2 inches. Cover and soak in the refrigerator for 1 hour and up to 24 hours. Drain the walnuts.
Step 2Arrange all the ingredients as casually or as artistically as you like on a platter and serve. To create a loghmeh (perfect bite): Take a piece of bread, place some feta in it, then pluck a couple of basil and mint leaves and set over the cheese, along with a piece of scallion and a walnut half. Roll up or fold over the lavash and eat. Follow with bites of watermelon, radish, cucumber and grapes.