I was first introduced to the za’atar spice blend by a Lebanese client of mine, who had me over and pulled out some za’atar bread, cheese, tea & a hookah pipe for us to share. The next day I found a middle eastern market, purchased a jar, and have been in love with the spice blend ever since!
Housewives of the Middle East traditionally made their own za’atar spice blends. It is usually made up of dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, sesame seeds & salt. There is also a red variety that is made with sumac. Other versions will include savory, cumin, coriander and fennel seeds. The ingredients will vary from region to region, family to family.
My first favorite way to eat this toasted pita bread. Whether you are using a traditional pita or a keto, or perhaps a gluten free one, you will look like a rockstar with your fancy pita bread! Simply blend some olive oil, lemon juice and za’atar into a small bowl, and brush that on to your pita before you toast it in the oven. You will become addicted, I promise!
My second favorite way to use za’atar is on oven baked chicken. It is especially great on thighs and drumsticks, as you will see in this post!
6-8 chicken bone in skin on thighs
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of a whole lemon (1 large or 2 small)
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
Drizzle a baking pan with 1/2 of your olive oil. Place your chicken things in the pan. Drizzle the rest of the olive oil on top of them. Squeeze your lemons right over the raw chicken. Add salt and pepper. Sprinkle the garlic and onion powders. Gently massage them to just work it into the skin. Sprinkle the za’atar on top.
Add about an inch of water to the pan so that your chicken doesn’t stick. Bake at 350 F for roughly 2 hours, or until the skin is golden brown and crispy.
That flavorful liquid in the pan is amazing for dipping anything from bread to veggies by the way! So good!!!!
Kali Oreksi! Or in Arabic, “shahiat tayiba”!