This weekend, I finally had time to pay a visit to The Spice House to refill some of my spices and add za’atar to my collection! I love the Spice House as their spices are of good quality and you don’t have to pay an outrageous amount of money for them. Since I don’t use large quantities of spices, I usually buy them as 1 oz in small ziploc bags and I try to buy whole seeds when possible and just toast and grind them right before using them. While spices don’t really spoil, the potency of the ground spices definitely decreases over the course of one year. I store my spices in a small cardboard box that I have divided into three rows and arranged my bags of spices alphabetically. My kitchen is small and this is a big space saver compared to having whole jars of spices 😉
Za’atar is a spice mix used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. It contains sumac, sesame seed and a mixture of dried herbs (thyme, oregano, hyssop, etc) and the preparation varies from merchant to merchant. To me, it smells like Greece, but that’s probably because I haven’t been to the other countries where it’s heavily used. I immediately thought about making a flatbread with it and decided to top it with some tomatoes, olives and feta. It’s been a while since my last feta recipe, but as you may imagine I almost always have feta and tomatoes in my fridge. Friday suggested we start a feta club and get matching t-shirts. Anyone else want join a feta club? 😉
You can of course use store bought dough, but if you have time I recommend making it fresh, as nothing beats freshly made dough! Dough recipe adapted from BA. You can also use my previous flatbread dough recipe that can be refrigerated overnight.
Ingredients (makes 2):
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1 tsp dry yeast (make sure it’s active by watching for bubbles)
- 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour (plus a little more for rolling the dough out)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 – 3 Tb olive oil
- 2 tsp za’atar
- 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
- several olives, sliced
- 4 Tb crumbled feta cheese
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Italian 4 cheese blend (or mozzarella)
Place flour in a medium bowl. Make a hole in the middle and add the salt and yeast. Pour the warm water on top and watch for bubbles. Add 1 Tb of oil and knead dough until smooth and elastic (~5 min). Remove dough from the bowl, coat bowl with oil, add dough and roll around until coated with oil.
Cover with plastic wrap, place in a warm spot and let rise until doubled in size (~ 2 hrs). Preheat oven to 425 F. Punch dough and divide into 2 pieces. Roll each piece out on a floured surface. Poke with a fork to prevent air pockets. Bake flatbread until almost cooked through (~5 min). Remove from oven, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with 1 tsp za’atar, add 1/2 of the tomato slices, olives and feta (2 Tb). Top with 3/4 cup of shredded cheese. Return to oven and bake until the cheese has melted and the tomatoes are soft (~10 minutes).
Repeat for the second flatbread. Cut into slices and serve warm.
The za’atar gives this dish a lot of flavor. I will definitely be using it again and maybe make some pita chips that I bet will go great with hummus 🙂