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What is Zatar and how do you use it?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Today i was walking around the supermarket buying some groceries and stuff, and i ended up in the spice and seasoning aisle. 

I ended up buying some spices and i bought two spices/seasonings that i have never used. 

 

One is Zatar. I know is arabic, but thats kind of it. 

Did a search on wikipedia to inform myself but i wanted to know from you guys, what you cook it with, how do you use it etc. 

 

The second is Pink Himalayan Salt. 

I tasted it and didnt notice such a big difference from kosher salt. 

How do you guys use it in your dishes??

 

 

Feel free to share out any ideas or opinions. 

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post #2 of 16

Za'atar is an herb blend. Thyme, marjoram sesame, often some Sumac and other things. It varies some from region to region. i like mine with extra sumac. Tonight I grilled some Pita with olive oil and Za'atar. Ate it with some hummus. I like a little on my own serving of hummus sometimes. Not everyone likes that. Or sometimes I mix it with olive oil for dipping bread. 

 

I've rubbed it on chickens and roasted them. Same for root vegetables. It's pretty versatile and good on most things. To my taste I don't find it as good with Beef. Still decent-- perhaps better for a ground kebab/patty. But I do like it with lamb punched up with garlic and even more sumac for that lemony kick. 

 

I'll combine za'atar with dry adobo seasoning (onion, garlic, salt--maybe some oregano, depends on brand). Also the Adobo with bitter orange and then  some sumac for citrus kick. Add some black pepper and season pork chops or chicken parts. Grill or pan sear. 

 

I suspect it could be good on salads though I've not tried it yet personally. Would depend a bit on the vinaigrette or dressing. 

 

Pink Salt, I have no opinion on. I've seen it more as the salt slabs for cooking/presentation.

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post #3 of 16

Like @phatch said it makes a great rub for roasted items. I have used it on on chicken, lamb, seafood,and vegetables. I also have gotten a little more out of the box and made it into a vinaigrette for this dish

 

Middle Eastern Inspired Chicken, a boneless and skinless breast marinated in yogurt, harissa, and honey, then grilled, served on a salad of baby arugula and bread and butter pickled Vidalia onions; sauced with a za’atar vinaigrette and topped with a tomato and lemon cucumber relish seasoned with sumac

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post #4 of 16

Pink salt.....Finishing salt

post #5 of 16

I enjoy Za'atar on bread as a topping.

A Lebanese friend makes here own blend (with Sumac). Great stuff.

 

I have Hawaiian black lava salt, at work that I use as a finishing garnish.

The pink salt I have as yet to open.

I have a grey salt too. Don't remember where it's from.

post #6 of 16
Himalayan salt is full of nutrients. It's pretty light, much lighter than sea salt so I can use it aggressively.

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post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheflayne View Post
 

Like @phatch said it makes a great rub for roasted items. I have used it on on chicken, lamb, seafood,and vegetables. I also have gotten a little more out of the box and made it into a vinaigrette for this dish

 

Middle Eastern Inspired Chicken, a boneless and skinless breast marinated in yogurt, harissa, and honey, then grilled, served on a salad of baby arugula and bread and butter pickled Vidalia onions; sauced with a za’atar vinaigrette and topped with a tomato and lemon cucumber relish seasoned with sumac

 

There's a local Persian/Middle Eastern joint that makes an intriguing vinaigrette. I've debated his recipe for a long time. I'm starting to think now that he uses tahini and za'atar in it. 

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post #8 of 16

Here's my arsenal...

 

post #9 of 16

My favorite summer breakfast is warm pita bread smeared with labneh (yogurt cheese), drizzled with good olive oil, heavily sprinkled with za'atar and topped with perfect slices of tomato.

 

Cut stale pita into triangles, and pull the two halves apart. Toss the triangles in a bowl with good olive oil and sprinkle with za'atar. Add a little salt, if needed. (the za'atar I buy at a local Middle Eastern market already has salt in it. Toast in a 350 degree oven until the chips are crisp.

 

Make a salad of chopped cucumber, tomatoes, parsley, diced red and green sweet peppers, chopped red onion, and minced garlic. Toss with za'atar to taste. You can keep the dressing simple--lemon juice, olive oil, salt. If you throw in torn up, bite-sized pieces of toasted pita bread, it is called fattoush. Or you can get fancier and make a dressing with tahini, lemon juice, thinned with water (the tahini will "seize" at first, then smooth out as you add more liquid) and salted to taste.

 

Sprinkle it on soft scrambled eggs or on sandwiches of hard boiled egg and tomato slices--with olive oil, of course.

 

A common snack found at Middle Eastern bakeries goes by various names but it is basically a yeasted, soft flat bread dough (I think every version I've ever tasted probably had olive oil in the dough, itself) smeared with olive oil and heavily topped with za'atar, then baked. 

 

Marinate chicken breasts or thighs in lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and za'atar. You can either broil on skewers or bake.

 

One of my favorite Yotam Ottolenghi recipes using za'atar is this one:

 

http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/roast-butternut-squash-and-red-onion-with-tahini-and-za-atar-shop

 

Ottolenghi uses za'atar a lot.

 

 

That's what I can think of off the top of my head.

 

I buy the stuff in pretty big bags from my local Middle Eastern market and always seem to be replacing it in my pantry because I have run out.

post #10 of 16
There used to be an Armenian restaurant/bakery that served the best pizza. The crust was flatbread/pita-like, incorporated zaatar (and sumac?) into the dough or brushed on with oil and sprinkled on top. From memory, the bread was topped w ground lamb or beef, chopped onions and chopped tomatoes. Yogurt and fresh mint or dill was served on the side. Sadly, they are gone. However Tyler Florence has a recipe for grilled zaatar flatbread I think could work. If not, try pita bread.
post #11 of 16

Interesting that you found those za'atar  flatbreads in an Armenian restaurant. They are Arabic--more specifically from the region around Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, where the herbs used grow wild-- rather than Armenian or Turkish. I used to also see them in the Iraqi Chaldean bakeries in Detroit in the early 90s. People eat them for breakfast.

 

Middle Eastern bakeries often sell the breads stacked 4 or 5 to a bag. I was just mooning over the variety available at the Middle Eastern bakery in my neighborhood yesterday. Plain za'atar, za'atar with lamb...with feta cheese...with  Sometimes they are just referred to as "za'atar" sometimes as "manakish" or "man'oushe" za'atar. Here the herb is usually exclusively thyme, but in the Levant a variety of wild herbs are used. Hyssop is common. Many households have their own recipes.

post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoTerry View Post

Interesting that you found those za'atar  flatbreads in an Armenian restaurant. They are Arabic--more specifically from the region around Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, where the herbs used grow wild-- rather than Armenian or Turkish. I used to also see them in the Iraqi Chaldean bakeries in Detroit in the early 90s. People eat them for breakfast.

Middle Eastern bakeries often sell the breads stacked 4 or 5 to a bag. I was just mooning over the variety available at the Middle Eastern bakery in my neighborhood yesterday. Plain za'atar, za'atar with lamb...with feta cheese...with  Sometimes they are just referred to as "za'atar" sometimes as "manakish" or "man'oushe" za'atar. Here the herb is usually exclusively thyme, but in the Levant a variety of wild herbs are used. Hyssop is common. Many households have their own recipes.

It was an interesting place. I didn't see any flatbreads for sale, but the menu gave a short description of key ingredients - zaatar, sumac etc. One can see a big (pizza?) oven in the back. They had a variety of pastry too- including cheesecake. I got the impression most, if not all, was baked on the premises. I could be wrong. I took out a few different kinds of pirozki (Ukranian or Russian?) Interesting menu and great food. Sorry they're gone.
post #13 of 16

post #14 of 16

post #15 of 16

Za'atar is great on most vegetables, but it is a standout on roasted or fried cauliflower. It lends a great flavor to that. 

 

Its good on carrots too. I like nicely, deeply roasted vegetables with za'atar. A carrot salad with labneh or greek yogurt flavored with za'atar and citrus can be awesome. 

post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 

Im using extensively with vegetables and rice. 

Im loving the flavor. 

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