ZA’ATAR SPICE

 

Spices are often the ingredient that gives everyday food items a distinct character. For instance, when we think of pumpkin pie, we think of a flavor very distinct to the pumpkin pie, a flavor we have come to know and love. But the flavor is not pumpkin at all. In fact, pumpkin has such a mild squash kind of flavor that I often wonder why sweet potato didn’t become the star of that pie we all love at holiday time instead of pumpkin. What we are tasting in pumpkin pie is, in fact, the spices: Cinnamon, cloves, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg. Spices, not pumpkin.

The same is often true of the savory dishes we cook. In Mediterranean foods, the vast array of spices used are what bring alive dishes that use everyday ingredients.

ZA’ATAR, is one of those very distinct spices. It is not one spice, but rather a well selected group of spices that when combined, take on an entirely new character. The same can be said of curry. It tickles me when curry is thought of as a spice, when in fact it too, is a combination of a variety of spices. So, let’s see if we can get you to know and love Zaatar, just as you may already know and love curry.

Ingredients:

        Sumac – ½ cup. Sumac is a red berry that has been dried and crushed, and has fruity, slightly sour flavor, sometimes called citrusy.

        Thyme – 4 tablespoons

        Oregano – 4 tablespoons

        Marjoram – 4 tablespoons

        Toasted Sesame Seeds – 2 tablespoons (they are most flavorful if you toast them yourself, because the natural oils will be released and not dry like store bought toasted sesame seeds.

        Salt – 2 teaspoons

Instructions

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and toss together until well mixed. Do not mix in a processor.

Transfer to an airtight jar or container and the Za’atar will keep for several months.

Uses:

        Rub into lamb, chicken, or beef before cooking

        Add to soups or stews

        If you make your own bread, (check out our Homemade Bread recipe for a simple and delicious yeast bread) when the dough rises, roll it out, sprinkle Za’atar on the dough and roll the dough into a log to bake. When the bread is baked and sliced, the beautiful aromatic flavors of the Za’atar will be encased inside of the bread

        Sprinkle a little in your quiche or scrambled egg dishes

        Adds a refreshing flavor to fish. Za’atar can be sprinkled on the top of the fish filet before cooking, or rubbed inside of the fish before grilling or baking

CHECK OUT OUR LAMB RIBETTS RECIPE USING ZA'ATAR!

CHECK OUT OUR LAMB RIBETTS RECIPE USING ZA’ATAR!