WHAT IS IT?
A popular savory spice blend found throughout the Middle East, Za’atar combines the sour of sumac, the nutty of sesame seeds, and, depending upon what the country of origin is, roasted thyme, or thyme and oregano, or oregano, and salt.
It’s an herbal, sourish-salty with nutty-earthy overtones from the sesame seeds. Za’atar is also high in antioxidants.
Za’atar is one of the most common household spices, found all over the Middle East, from the Levant (Iraq to Syria) the Fertile Crescent and the Arabian Peninsula. There is some form of it, affected by local tastes, in Algeria, Armenia, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey.
- As part of the seasonings of roasted or Tagine meats;
- Sprinkled over hummus for some extra flavor;
- Baked into breads;
- Sprinkled on a yogurt cheese slightly drier than a Greek yogurt;
- Sprinkled over rice as a finish
A FEW IMPROVISATIONAL RIFFS:
- A nice savory for egg dishes including omelettes and quiche.
- Add to a basic fried chicken recipe for Southern fried with a Levantine lift!
- A different take on roasted or air-fried potatoes is to season with za’atar
- Add to butter and serve with fresh bread or spread on a french roll or baguette sprinkling some parmigiano reggiano and broil for a different take on cheese bread.
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