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Aug 3, 2009 02:27 PM

*August 2009 COTM* OTTOLENGHI: Larder

Our Chowhound August 2009 Cookbook of the Month is Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi; and all online recipes by the authors.

Please post your full-length recipe reviews here for dishes from the cookbook chapter Larder, and online recipes for basics that are unattached to recipes that fit well in other threads.

Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing and the page number, or include a link to the online recipe, if possible, as well as any modifications you made to the recipe. Let us know if you would like to make the recipe again, and if you would change anything in the future, too.

Please see the main Cookbook of the Month thread for some useful links.

Lists of the recipes from these book sections, along with links where applicable, and the opportunity to request paraphrases, may be found at this link:

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

Thanks for participating and enjoy!

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  1. One thing I've found recently when making a couple of different dishes calling for za'atar is that the cookbooks always seem to say "available at a good spice or Middle Eastern store". I was in a rush the first time I made a dish which called for za'atar and decided to look it up on the internet. There are lots of recipes and it's easy to make. Most of the ingreds are things you'll probably have on hand.


    * 1/4 cup sumac
    * 2 tablespoons thyme
    * 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
    * 2 tablespoons marjoram
    * 2 tablespoons oregano
    * 1 teaspoon coarse salt


    Grind the sesame seeds in food processor or with mortar and pestle. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

    12 Replies
    1. re: oakjoan

      I wish I had had this ratio several weeks ago! I bought some hand packaged za'tar at the market recommended by Anna Sortun in Spice. In fact, I may have a lifetime supply since even the smallest bag was substantial, though only about $2.00.

      1. re: oakjoan

        This is interesting, Joan, as most za'atar I've found has only sumac, thyme, sesame seeds, and salt, but no other green herbs. In fact, not all za'atar has sumac, but all have thyme.

        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

          Interesting. I just picked a recipe at random and I loved the marjoram and oregano tastes.

          Caitlin: Do you mean za'atar recipes or pre-packaged spice mixes or both?

          1. re: oakjoan

            I was speaking of commercially sold za'atar, but this also reflects the descriptions I have read in cookbooks. Apparently, the term refers to the thyme (traditionally wild thyme), and whether it includes sumac depends on the geographic area. Some parts of the Middle East eat sumac, some don't, I guess.

            1. re: oakjoan

              The one I use - Penzey's - is just sumac, thyme leaves, white sesame seeds (whole, not ground). and salt.

              1. re: Rubee

                I forget whether it was the store, or Spice where I heard this but the "thyme" in some za'atar is actually jordanian thyme, which is closer to summer savory.

                1. re: yamalam

                  Hi Yamalam!

                  That reminds me - how did you like the green Jordanian za'atar. Did you say you got it at Baiz? I know that's the one Sortun prefers, though I've never had it. I think she mentions it's more herbal (like the version oakjoan posted) than the red za'atar with sumac I've been using.

                  Also, can someone let me know which Ottolenghi prefers in his recipes? Thanks!

                  1. re: Rubee

                    Rubee, in the ingredients section, they describe za'atar as a mixture of thyme, sesame, and salt, and note that it's often used with or mixed with sumac, so they're talking about the green version. The roast chicken recipe calls for za'atar and sumac, as you know; I had Penzey's za'atar, so I used that in place of the two.

                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                      Thanks Caitlin! You're the hostess with the mostess, so organized with this month's COTM, and full of useful information - especially helpful to those of us who don't have the book. Thanks!

                    2. re: Rubee

                      I did get it from Baiz, and I love it. I've been putting it in salad dressing, mixing it into hummus, salsa, on flatbread, in omelettes. Like someone else mentioned, I have a ton of it, despite buying the smallest bag. I figure this means you should put it on everything!

            2. re: oakjoan

              Many thanks for your recipe, OJ... considering I'm not supposed to eat seeds grinding them first is a great option.

              1. re: oakjoan

                Ah, this is really helpful, Joan, thank you!