Za'atar is a Middle Eastern spice mix that adds a mysteriously tangy, herb-forward flavour to any ho-hum dish. Use it in salads and on bread, chicken, and seafood.
- 5 sweet red peppers (about 1 1/2 lbs)
- 1 1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 slice country-style white bread, about 1 inch thick
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup roughly chopped tomatoes (about 2 medium)
- 4 tbsp slivered almonds
- 1 tbsp minced fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
- 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
- Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Preheat grill or barbecue to high. Grill red peppers, turning often with tongs, until blistered and blackened on all sides, 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let steam for 20 minutes, then peel skins and chop peppers into 1/2-inch pieces.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp of the oil over medium-high heat. Add bread and fry, turning once, until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove bread and let cool. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes and set aside.
Return pan to medium heat and add garlic, tomatoes and almonds; sauté until juices have evaporated, about 2 minutes.
To make a stuffing: In a large bowl, combine garlic mixture, roasted peppers, bread, the remaining oil, parsley, vinegar and lemon juice; mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To make a smooth sauce for dipping: In a food processor, pulse garlic mixture, roasted peppers and bread until coarsely chopped. With the motor running, slowly add the remaining oil through the feed tube, processing until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in parsley, vinegar and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks
Makes 4 cups