I had the best time playing around with the Middle Eastern spices zahtar and sumac for a story in the February 2016 issue of 225 Magazine. We happen to have tons of Middle Eastern eateries in Baton Rouge – close to 30 or so, and they’re a big part of our regular culinary experience. It’s why I wanted to write a story on these familiar yet exotic spices.
Zahtar is a savory-floral spice blend traditionally made in Middle Eastern homes that features sumac, sesame seeds, thyme and other spices. Its flavor stems largely from the presence of sumac, sort of a dark purple dust with lemony notes.
Here are some of the ways I’ve been using these two lovely spices lately. You can pick them up or mail order them in one-ounce quantities from Red Stick Spice Company, our phenomenal local spice store, or order them from national vendors, Penzeys, which carries zatar (spelled this way) and sumac in berry form.