Updated: Aug 11
Welcome to the next installment of my Meet the Spice Blend series, where I'm sharing the inspiration for, back stories of, and uses for my ever-expanding collection of small batch, handcrafted spice blends. Next up, let's meet Electric Za'atar!!
The Inspiration - Za'atar
Za'atar is a versatile and aromatic Middle Eastern spice blend that holds a rich and storied history. Its origins can be traced back thousands of years to the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean region. The word "za'atar" itself refers to both the herb and the spice mixture derived from it. The blend typically consists of dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, and sesame seeds, with variations including sumac, cumin, or other herbs. The use of za'atar can be found in various cultures, including Lebanese, Palestinian, Syrian, and Israeli cuisines. It is believed to have been valued for its medicinal properties and was often used in religious rituals. Over time, za'atar has become an integral part of the culinary traditions of the Middle East, adding a distinctive and fragrant flavor to dishes like flatbreads, roasted meats, salads, and dips. Its popularity has spread globally, captivating taste buds and enhancing the culinary landscape with its ancient allure. Today, za'atar continues to be cherished as a cherished spice blend, connecting modern-day food enthusiasts with the flavors of the past.
The Flavor Profile - Electric Za'atar
My version of za'atar, which I have dubbed Electric Za'atar, combines sumac, toasted sesame seeds, kosher salt, thyme, marjoram, and oregano, and the flavor profile is both vibrant and complex. The sumac lends a tangy and slightly citrusy note, adding a refreshing zing to the blend. The toasted sesame seeds bring a nutty and toasty undertone, providing a delightful crunch and depth of flavor. The kosher salt enhances the overall taste and helps to balance the other components. The combination of thyme, marjoram, and oregano contributes earthy, herbaceous, and aromatic characteristics. These herbs infuse the blend with a subtle yet distinctive Mediterranean essence. Together, these ingredients create a harmonious blend that delivers a well-rounded and memorable flavor experience. In short, Electric Za'atar offers a tantalizing balance of tanginess, nuttiness, and herbal complexity that elevates a wide range of dishes.
Versatility in the Kitchen - How to Use Electric Za'atar
Bread: Sprinkle Electric Za'atar generously over freshly baked or toasted bread, drizzle it with olive oil, and serve as a delicious and aromatic appetizer or accompaniment to soups and salads.
Roasted Vegetables: Toss your favorite vegetables like potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, or eggplant with olive oil, Electric Za'atar, and a pinch of salt. Roast them in the oven until golden and tender for a flavorful side dish.
Marinated Chicken: Create a marinade by combining Electric Za'atar, lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, and salt. Coat chicken pieces with the marinade and let them marinate for a few hours before grilling or baking for a fragrant and succulent main course.
Hummus: Add a generous sprinkle of Electric Za'atar to your homemade or store-bought hummus. Mix it well to incorporate the flavors and serve it as a dip or spread for pita bread, crackers, or vegetables.
Salad Dressing: Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, Electric Za'atar, honey, and a touch of salt to create a flavorful dressing. Drizzle it over your favorite salads, whether it's a simple green salad, roasted vegetable salad, or a chickpea salad.
Seasoned Yogurt: Mix Electric Za'atar into plain yogurt along with a squeeze of lemon juice, minced garlic, and a pinch of salt. Use it as a tangy and herby dip for fresh vegetables or as a topping for grilled meats.
Za'atar-Crusted Fish or Tofu: Create a crust for fish fillets or tofu by combining Electric Za'atar with breadcrumbs. Press the mixture onto the surface of the fish or tofu and pan-fry or bake until crispy and cooked through.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Feel free to experiment and incorporate za'atar into your favorite dishes, as its unique flavor profile can add a delightful twist to various recipes.
A Bite of Good Recipes that use Electric Za'atar
Looking for some more concrete guidance on how to use Electric Za'atar? Check out these A Bite of Good recipes!
Za'atar-Spiced Roast Chicken - Whether it's a weeknight or a Sunday dinner, you can't go wrong with a roast chicken, and this Za'atar-Spiced Roast Chicken is one for the books.
Za'atar Roasted Cauliflower - Make a head of cauliflower the star of the show with this easy recipe. Meatless Monday will never be the same.
Ready to get your own Electric Za'atar? Get it here.