Zaatar blend originated in the Middle East and has so many culinary uses. It's known for featuring oregano. This recipe is from my mother and can be used as a seasoning for fresh vegetables like tomatoes or avocados, sprinkled over dips or as a spread on focaccia or flat bread.
How to grow and dry oregano
Oregano is delicious, grows very easily and smells amazing. It's best grown in it's own garden bed/pot if possible as it spreads like a weed if you mix it in a garden bed with other herbs or root vegetables. It's a woody herb and easily grown in all seasons. There are many tutorials online on how to grow your own herbs. Check out the Hungry Gardener for some great advice and short courses.
Once your oregano is ready to harvest, cut at the base of the plant so you have a long enough stem and then bundle multiple stems together. Wrap the base of the bundle in twine or a rubber band and hang it upside down in a dry and dark location until it stiffens and dries up. You can place a perforated bag or towel around the herbs to catch the leaves as they fall off. The dried leaves will look a little more dull in colour when they are completely dried out.
Next, prepare a jar and above the jar remove the leaves from the stems for storage by pinching at the base of the stem and dragging your fingers down the stem to pull the leaves off. Ensure you have no pieces of stem in your mix before you seal the air-tight container for storage. Store in a dark and cool location for up to 6 months or more. You an also use the stems in fireplaces/fire pits for a woody aroma or to add a woody and bitter smoked flavour into food.
A simple savoury condiment (or star of the meal). All you need to do is add it to some flatbread with hummus or labneh and olive oil.
Authentic Zaatar blend recipe
Time: 15 Minutes Yield: 10 Serves of dried mix
Nutrition Facts (coming soon)
1 cup dried oregano
1 cup sesame seeds
1 cup sumac
To serve: extra virgin olive oil
1. Toast the sesame seeds on a hot fry pan until slightly darker in colour. Mix constantly to ensure an even colour across the seeds and remove from heat once complete. Allow to cool.
2. Once the sesame seeds have cooled down, mix in a bowl with oregano and sumac. Transfer to an airtight container and store for 6 months in a cool and dark spot.
3. You can sprinkle the zaatar onto salads or meals/dips. Or, mix it with olive oil - slowly add olive oil to a tablespoon of zaatar mix until it becomes a thick paste. Use the paste as a spread on flatbread, or add extra olive oil and drizzle it over labneh, hummus, roasted vegetables or yoghurt. Enjoy!