Grilled Lamb, Za’atar Flatbread, Marzano Tomatoes, Herbs, Feta
Right now in the food community one of the hot topics is sort of about ‘disconnect,’ that is, despite some of the amazing (including healthy foods) being shared, the sensational public appetite for new foods, along with the surge in food television programming, folks still aren’t really so much cooking these dishes at home.
There are likely as many reasons as the number of stars in the sky on this indicated wonder, including at minimum that some presented dishes have just gone way over the top and too, recognition that there is a big difference between ‘chef cooking’ and ‘home cooking.’ You might even have some of your own thoughts and opinions on this food trending topic.
One focus that most intrigues me though is relative to diverse food preparations, mainly the introduction and use of new ingredients. Well, not really new ingredients but rather age old ingredients that have been eaten as part of a mainstream diet in certain parts of the world and introduced through many channels from immigration to cookbook writing to food industry snack foods and thus become newly mainstreamed into a population.
Since Mediterranean hummus has taken off in a stellar fashion now settling into the commonplace, I am now curious on the future ingredient popularity of the very tasty Mediterranean spice blend, Za’atar, which I am sharing with you today in the dish: Grilled Lamb, Za’atar Flatbread, Marzano Tomatoes, Herbs, Feta.
I first tasted Za’atar, some years back at a religious studies class where displayed on a buffet spread were food items that Jesus would most likely have eaten. Naturally, being a person that loves to try new foods I took great spiritual delight dipping pieces of pita bread into a small bowl of Za’atar covered with olive oil. The flavor was fabulous and unique, but not so much so that it took any great acclimation, one might even equate a similarity to dipping a slice of Italian bread into a bowl of olive oil with some oregano, salt and pepper. Za’atar is simply a different spice combination.
Whether or not Za’atar will become commonplace as hummus, soy sauce, salsa, and Sriracha remains to be seen, but I do hope you will give it a try and prepare some dishes with it at home, like this simple warm weather open-face of Grilled Lamb, Za’atar Flatbread, Marzano Tomatoes, Herbs, Feta, or simply use it just as a dip in some olive oil served with any type of flatbread. You can also sprinkle Za’atar on chicken, fish, on pizza, in salad dressings, even on top of grain and vegetable dishes, but anyway you use it, most of all, hope you enjoy.
Za’atar may be found at any Lebanese or Middle Eastern market, many international markets, and online.
- 1 1/2 pound boneless lamb roast
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- For Seasoning the Lamb:
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 5 flatbreads
- olive oil, enough to brush across each flatbread
- 1 1/2 tablespoons zaatar to lightly sprinkle over each flatbread
- 12 basil leaves, stacked, rolled, thinly sliced
- 3 long stems fresh mint, leaves removed from stems, snipped into strips
- For the Tomato and Feta:
- 10 ounces mini plum Marzano tomatoes, quartered
- 6 ounces feta cheese, cubed
- 1/2 small red onion, cut in half, sliced into half moons then sliced in half again
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
- 1 lemon, juiced and strained
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- good couple pinches each coarse kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- Mix spices in small bowl, Pat lamb dry using paper toweling, rub all over with olive oil, sprinkle over the spices rubbing into the meat and spreading all around, cover lamb with plastic wrap and marinate overnight
- Let lamb sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes before grilling
- Preheat gas grill on medium high heat, set lamb onto grill and close lid, grill for 10 minutes, turn over and cook another 7-10 minutes, more or less, to medium rare depending on grill
- Transfer meat to a platter, tent with aluminum foil and let rest for ten-fifteen minutes before thinly slicing on the diagonal
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Lightly stir together the Marzano tomatoes, feta, and onion, sprinkle in salt and pepper, stir in the oregano and parsley
- Whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil with a pinch of salt and pepper, drizzle over the tomato feta salad, stir, let salad sit
- Brush each flatbread with olive oil then sprinkle across the zaatar, bake flatbread at 350 degrees for around 5-8 minutes until softened and warmed through
- Top flatbreads with Tomato Feta salad, slices of lamb, finish topping with fresh basil and mint strips