za’atar sandwich

This is nice quick snack if you have a loaf of Syrian bread to use up – not pita, but thick loaves called talamee. We get some from Tete about once a month…actually, it’s very easy to make, I’m not sure why we don’t do it ourselves. That’s for another post.

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Halve the bread lengthwise…

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and place the two pieces cut side up on aluminum foil (or use a baking sheet if you don’t want to be wasteful). Drizzle with olive oil,

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sprinkle on the za’atar. Oh, you’ve never heard of za’atar?

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Well, it’s a simple blend of thyme, sesame seeds, sumac and salt, sometimes with other spices like oregano. You can find it any Middle Eastern market. Interestingly this one claims to be homemade, I wonder if a little Jordanian grandmother mixed it up in her kitchen.
Anyway. Place it under the broiler on the low setting until…

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the bread gets a nice golden brown color around the edges, and the sesame seeds look nice and toasted. You can eat it warm or at room temp.

Even easier: if you have pita bread and don’t feel like using the oven, you can just dip the bread in oil, then dip in the za’atar. I first had this while visiting a friend in California, his dad told us it was “brain food.” According to Wikipedia, though, “In the Levant, there is a belief that za’atar makes the mind alert and the body strong. For this reason, children are encouraged to eat a za’atar sandwich for breakfast before an exam or before school. This, however, is also believed to be a myth fabricated during the Lebanese civil war to encourage eating of za’atar, as provisions were low at the time and za’atar was of abundance.”

Oh well, it’s a nice thought. And it’s pretty high in iron and calcium, so maybe your brain will be happy with you for making a wise snack choice.

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