Create a Middle Eastern delight with our Za'atar Squeaky Cheese
Za’atar - what is it and where does it come from?
Za’atar is a culinary herb or often a spice mixture made up of toasted sesame seeds, ground dried thyme, oregano and marjoram, as well as salt and sumac. It is a spice traditionally used in Middle Eastern cuisine.
The history of za’atar goes back a long way, as the herb was known and used in ancient Egypt, with a form of the za’atar preparation process being found in Tutankhamun’s Tomb upon its discovery! There are also records of za’atar being used as a royal perfume by the Parthian Kings in the 1st century CE as a regal scent.
Interestingly, housewives throughout the Fertile Crescent, Iraq, and the Arabian Peninsula adapted their za’atar mixtures over time, some of which have kept their spice blends a top family secret for years and years.
Palestinian refugees also have a familiar relationship with the za’atar plant due to its strong significance and representation of the houses, villages and region from which they hailed. Today, za’atar is now a common herb used in Israeli cuisine. At one point wild za’atar was found to be on the verge of extinction in Israel as a result of over harvesting, however, in 1977 a law was passed in Israel declaring it a protected plant species.
Traditional Za’atar Dishes
Za’atar is used in a variety of authentic Middle Eastern dishes. A popular dish is Za’atar Man’uche which consists of a traditional flatbread covered in herbs and is commonly eaten in Lebanon, this very rich and healthy dish is often eaten for breakfast and accompanied by Lebanese cucumbers, olives, mint and tomatoes.
However, the most common use of za’atar is to flavour different types of breads throughout the Middle East, but is also known to be used as a flavouring on meats, such as za’atar roast chicken, beef and lamb, or even flavoured cheese’s like our Yorkshire Dama Za’atar Squeaky Cheese.
We have combined a mixture of typical techniques to create a simple yet scrumptious recipe.
Quick and easy Za’atar Squeaky Cheese pita bread pizza
1 Pita bread
4 Slices of mozzarella
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
You can also add any additional toppings you like, e.g sun-dried tomatoes and olives.
1. Start by preheating the grill
2. Cut the Yorkshire Dama Squeaky Za’atar Cheese and Mozzarella into slices
3. Place the cheese on top of the pitta and drizzle with olive oil
4. Simply place under a grill until the mozzarella is bubbly and the pita is crispy, we recommend to grill for around 5 minutes.
5. Slice like a pizza and serve.