Once again thanks to Bint Rhoda, we have added a marvelous Arabic dish to our rotation: Za'atar bread. We have been making it (three days in a row) with naan from Costco. Za'atar is a Middle Eastern spice mix that really jazzes things up. It's made with thyme, ground hyssop, and sesame seeds, and has a savory, slightly tart flavor. It might sound exotic but my za'atar bread got rave reviews from a picky old guy with very vanilla tastes, so don't be afraid of it. I had been thinking about ordering some za'atar online to stock my Middle Eastern pantry, but on the way back from an appointment with my midwife, I passed a Middle Eastern grocery and did a u-turn to dash in for some za'atar.
I asked the nice Iranian lady, "Hi, do you have any... za'atar?"
"You know, it's a spice blend with thyme, sesame, and sumac...." (I fumbled on that one.)
"Oh, Za'atar! It's over here."
So check out za'atar bread. It is quite a treat, especially if you can find some good tomatoes and cucumbers to fold up inside. (I usually don't buy tomatoes this time of year, but found some good ones at Costco.) It's one Lenten (+ oil) dish that I can't imagine improving with any animal products. That is saying something. Buy your za'atar online at Penzey's if you don't live in a cosmopolitan area like Northern Virginia.