One thing I love about living in Paris are the spice shops. There are many – some great, some good and some not so good. But, every time I walk into a shop, Marc says ” ahhhh… your space mountain!” and I proceed to stay much longer than expected 😉 I can’t deny it- I do love spice markets. The beautiful aromas, the vibrant colors, the reminders of old trips I’ve taken and new trips I’d love to take in the near future. I find that I am constantly inspired by spices because with one soupçon, you’re instantaneously transported to another land. This is another reason why I love cooking and why I decided to make some homemade Za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice mixture, which is also used throughout the Mediterranean.
Although Za’atar Spice blends vary from region to region, I’ve found that combining fresh oregano and thyme, which I dry in the oven, ground sumac and cumin, toasted sesame seeds and sea salt, makes for an herb forward spice with a hint of nuttiness which you can then add to. I love this combination and have been putting it on almost everything, from hummus to salads to roasted vegetables, and one of my all time favorites – atop avocado toast! It can also be added to olive oil and eaten with bread. At the moment, I can’t get enough winter squash – my favorite is roasted Delicata squash topped with pomegranate seeds, cashew cream and Za’atar. Za’atar can also be purchased in markets, but I find that making your own spice blends is not that much more expensive and allows you to tailor the proportions to achieve to your desired taste!
2 Tbsp fresh thyme
2 Tbsp fresh oregano
2 tsp sumac, ground
1 tsp cumin, ground
1 Tbsp sesame seeds, white or white and black
1/2 tsp sea salt
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Place fresh thyme and oregano leaves on a baking sheet, along with sesame seeds and toast for 10 minutes or until the herbs crumble between your fingers.
Using a mortar and pestle, grind the thyme and oregano.
Add in sumac, cumin, sea salt and pepper and continue grinding.
Once combined, add the sesame seeds et voila! Homemade Za’atar!
Best if stored in the refrigerator!
- 2 Tbsp fresh thyme
- 2 Tbsp fresh oregano
- 2 tsp sumac, ground
- 1 tsp cumin, ground
- 1 Tbsp sesame seeds, white or white and black
- ½ tsp sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Place fresh thyme and oregano leaves on a baking sheet, along with sesame seeds and toast for 10 minutes or until the herbs crumble between your fingers.
- Using a mortar and pestle, grind the thyme and oregano.
- Add in sumac, cumin, sea salt and pepper and continue grinding.
- Once combined, add the sesame seeds et voila! Homemade Za'atar!
- Best if stored in the refrigerator!