My husband just returned from a trip to Israel and brought with him a small bag of za’atar. Za’atar is the Middle Eastern spice mixture that is so versatile it can be used on numerous foods to give it that delicious, exotic aroma and flavor of the Mediterranean.
Since he returned he’s been putting it on just about everything, using it as a rub for steaks, roast chicken, grilled lamb chops and pork souvlaki, sprinkling it on top of hummus and tzatziki and fresh salads like fattoush. Even a simple dish of Greek yogurt with a side of a few cucumbers and tomatoes gets the za’atar treatment now, becoming transformed when garnished with a drizzle of olive oil and za’atar and served with warmed pita.
Making your own za’atar is really easy, you probably have most of the spices in your pantry. Here’s how:
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
¼ cup sumac
2 tablespoons thyme
2 tablespoons marjoram
2 tablespoons oregano
Grind the sesame seeds with a mortar and pestle or in a food processor. Mix in the remaining ingredients. Stored in the fridge, it can last for up to six months.
The next time you grill up some ears of corn, try adorning it with a compound butter made with za’atar and crushed garlic. It’s amazing and super simple, just add a tablespoon of za’atar to your favourite garlic butter recipe and brush on the corn immediately after grilling. Or spice up your grilled garlic bread by using a sprinkle of za’atar. Once you start using it you’ll find it hard to stop
If this has your tastebuds tingling, check here for more delicious recipes that feature za’atar, the flavor of the Middle East.