When I was in Lebanon, I had mini flatbreads with za’atar for breakfast every morning. Za’atar is a mixture of sumac, sesame seed, salt, sun-dried thyme and oregano. Besides flatbread, it is often served atop strained yogurt (labneh) and sprinkled on hummus. When I returned home, I began thinking of all of the different ways that I could use it—one of the ways is with zucchini and tomatoes in this warm salad. It is best served with a baguette and good friends—you don’t want to have to be shy about mopping up the remaining tomato-herb-oil straight out of the serving dish.
Warm Zucchini and Tomato Salad with Za’atar, serves 4 as a side for supper
2 med/large zucchini, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1-2 cups of tomatoes, chopped into 1 inch pieces of if you are using cherry tomatoes, halved
2-4 tbsp of za’atar spice blend, depending on your taste
Salt & pepper
Half of a lemon
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
A fresh baguette (Optional)
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the middle of the oven and another close to the broiler (6 inches away).
Pat the zucchini dry, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and spread evenly on a baking tray. Roast for 5 minutes with the baking tray in the middle rack. Meanwhile, toss the tomatoes in a bit of salt and pepper in a large serving dish to begin coaxing out the juices and reserve on the side.
After 5 minutes, remove the zucchini from the middle rack to the top rack and turn on the broiler. Broil the zucchini for 5 minutes, keeping an eye on it so it doesn’t burn, but browning is good.
Carefully remove the pan, generously sprinkle on the za’atar and drizzle some more olive oil on top and broil for a couple more minutes to toast the spices.
Then, remove the pan and scrape the zucchini and any bits of za’atar into the dish with the tomatoes. Grate over from parmesan cheese and finish with a squeeze of lemon. This is optional, but highly recommended if you are having supper with good friends: serve with a baguette to mop up the spice and juice mixture.