Za’atar is a spice blend used in Middle Eastern cooking consisting of sumac, thyme, white sesame seeds and salt. In this recipe it lends a slight lemony flavor to, and enhances the earthy scent of, some lovely sweet potatoes.
Sumac Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 30-35 minutes
- 3 lbs. sweet potatoes
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tsp. za’atar
- 1 tsp. ground sumac
- Place oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking pan with parchment.
- Peel sweet potatoes and dice into 1″ cubes.
- Toss sweet potatoes with the olive oil and spices. Transfer to the prepared pan and spread into a single layer.
- Roast for 25-30 minutes, tossing the potatoes and redistributing into a single layer half way through cooking.
In my ongoing quest to find ways to use zucchini I decided to make some zucchini pancakes this past week. My dad used to make something like these during the summer when I was growing up. They were particularly good with a little Romesco.
Prep time: 10 minutes (plus 30 minutes wait)
Total time: 1 hour
- 2 zucchini, about 1 pound each
- 1 shallot
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. ground sumac
- 1/2 tsp. ground Aleppo pepper
- 1 egg
- kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
- Rinse zucchini, halve across the middle and grate on the large holes of a box grater. Sprinkle with kosher salt (maybe a 1/2 tsp.) and place in a strainer set over a bowl. Allow liquid to drain for at least 30 minutes. Transfer drained zucchini to a double layer of paper towels, blot dry and move to a fresh bowl.
- While the zucchini rests you can also grate the shallot on the small holes of a box grater and add to the strainer with the zucchini. Then combine the flour and spices in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Finally lightly beat the egg to combine the yolk and white.
- When ready to continue mix the zucchini/shallot with the flour/spices and egg until it comes together as a batter. There’s still plenty of liquid in the zucchini to supplant the egg.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until it no longer bubbles. Add 4 pancakes to the skillet (I used a disher), flattening each so they are about 3″ in diameter. Cook for 2-3 minutes on the first side, flip and cook for 2-3 minutes on the second side. Both sides should end up golden brown.
- Transfer pancakes to a platter and sprinkle with a bit more salt. Repeat the pancake cooking process with the remaining butter and batter. Serve warm.
These could also make a tasty appetizer. Just make smaller pancakes, say 1 1/2″ diameter, and top them with a dollop of sour cream plus some finely chopped chive or caviar.