Warm Olives with Za’atar

The taste of za’atar makes you want more of it, so use it generously. Sprinkle it heavily over cheese, flatbreads, thick yogurt, and grilled chicken. My favorite za’atar comes from Jordan — it has the brightest flavor and the purest green color — but there are other delicious varieties from Syria and Lebanon as well.

I like to load za’atar onto niçoise olives and then gently warm them up to nibble on as a snack, or before a meal. Although they aren’t very meaty, these olives have a wonderfully fruity taste that will whet your appetite but won’t fill you up.

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¾ pound niçoise olives, drained
2 tablespoons dried, sieved mint
2 heaping tablespoons za’atar
  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the olives and gently warm them through over low heat.
  2. Stir in the za’atar, transfer the olives to a bowl (preferably an olive dish with a lip or edge), and serve them with crusty bread.

Serves 8.

From “SPICE: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean” by Ana Sortun

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