Jan and I were watching “Diners, Drive Ins and Dives” one night. One of the featured dishes was Lebanese Za’atar Pizza. Za’atar is a ubiquitous Middle Eastern spice blend with no clear set of ingredients. The word usually translated as “thyme” on the packages can be from a wide variety of related herbs depending on the locality. The Za’atar blend usually has “thyme,” sesame seeds, salt, and “other spices.” Sumac is a common addition, but any other additions and amounts are the closely held secrets of the blenders. This is not a blend that you are going to mix yourself and come anywhere even close to the commercial blends, so find a blend that you like by trying different producers.
If you are not making the bread fresh this dish is quick and easy to make. In Lebanon this is breakfast and since I discovered it I can recommend it: for breakfast, lunch, snacks, or dinner. Yes, it is that good. I have always thought that everything is better with garlic, so the first time I made this dish I made one with garlic and one without. My family, garlic lovers all, was very clear in their decision: it is much better without the garlic.
There are several Middle Eastern Flat breads, some of which are not hard to make, but for today’s meal I took a short cut and bought some pita bread from the Heavenly Hummus farmer’s market stand. These were not your shriveled supermarket pita breads, but soft, half-baked bits of heaven. Jan literally lives off their hummus, having it for lunch several times a week.
Lebanese Za’atar Pizza
¾ cup Za’atar
½ cup olive oil
3-4 pita breads
1. Mix the Za’atar and olive oil (yes, I know this seems like a lot of spice, but trust me).
2. Spread the mix thickly over one side of the bread all the way to the edge.
3. Broil in a 400° oven for 5-10 minutes (depending on the thickness of the bread).
4. Cool slightly, cut into wedges and enjoy.