Zahtar is a common spice mixture in the Middle East. It can be spelled Zatar, zahtar, or za’atar. Zahtar is also the Arabic word for
thyme. Some of the ingredients commonly
found in a zahtar spice mixture are sesame seeds, sumac, thyme, oregano, and salt. It can also include hyssop, marjoram,
parsley, or fennel seeds. It’s used to
season meats and vegetables and is equally delicious sprinkled on grilled pita
bread. The blend or mixture can vary
greatly depending on the region perhaps just like barbeque varies greatly by
the region in this country.
You can create your own blend of zahtar or buy a prepared
mixture at a Middle Eastern grocery or perhaps in the ethnic food aisle of your
local grocery store if you’re lucky. It’s
also available online at a variety of sites.
I like to make a mixture using the following ingredients:
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
4 tablespoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons sumac
1 teaspoon sea salt
Coarsely grind sesame seeds, thyme and oregano using a
mortar and pestle. Mix sumac and salt
into mixture and store in tightly sealed container.
So, once you have the zahtar in hand, just a bit on fresh
tomatoes with a little bit of feta cheese and you will think you are in
heaven. You have to try this. It’s hard to believe something so simple can taste
3 or 4 tomatoes quartered
A drizzle of olive oil, maybe one or two teaspoons
A sprinkle of zahtar, about a teaspoon
3 or 4 tablespoons of crumbled feta cheese
A few mint leaves for garnish.