Za'atar

Zaatar Manakeesh is a Mediterranean flatbread topped with an olive-oil based za'atar spread.
Zaatar Manakeesh is a Mediterranean flatbread topped with an olive-oil based za'atar spread.

What Is Za'atar

Zaatar is a Middle Eastern spice mix comprising sumac, thyme, and sesame seeds. This is essentially what Lebanese za'atar, which is what I'm most familiar with, is made of.

Cumin, oregano, and marjoram are frequently used in za'atar spice blends in various parts of the Middle East. While you can manufacture zaatar at home, I've never done so because it's readily available in Middle Eastern markets and health food stores like Whole Foods and Sprouts.

What Is Manakeesh

One use of Za'atar is to spread a flatbread with an olive oil and Za'atar based mixture. Only two components are needed to prepare za'atar manakeesh: za'atar spice and extra virgin olive oil. In a mixing bowl, combine the two ingredients until they make a spread with the consistency of pesto.

You don't want to use too much olive oil because it will make the spread leak while baking. And you don't want too much za'atar to where it looks like a paste because the flavour will be too strong for the amount of flatbread used. For a pound of dough, I found that 13 cup zaatar to 14 cup olive oil is a reasonable ratio. You can also drizzle olive oil over the za'atar in a slow, steady stream until you get the desired consistency.

Other Uses of Za'atar

But Za'atar spice has a lot of applications, and I'm thrilled for you to get to know it and find your own tasty uses for it!

Recipes courtesy of Feasting At Home


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If you have questions or comments, please email me at: brucesharland@gmail.com