One of these days I'm going to set off with a backpack and a notebook and discover the world one spice at a time. I want to explore and learn more about different cultures based on the flavors that define them: moles in Mexico, curries in India, chilies in Thailand, the possibilities are endless. I do think that graduating before I run off would probably be the best idea, so right now I am working on bringing the flavors of the world to my kitchen. Sometimes this intimidates me, foreign spices are, well, foreign and I am not totally comfortable with their depths of flavor. Anyhow, since I don't want to be a total ignoramus when I do set off on my voyage, I just go with it and hope for the best. So far, things have turned out pretty tasty to say the least.
When I was younger, Za’atar dominated my summers; afternoons spent at my Lebanese friends’ house were filled with games, swimming and most importantly pitas with creamy, tangy labneh and za’atar. When these friends moved away so did the za’atar, but its ethereal flavor lingered in my memory. I had never learned its name, so for years I wondered how I would ever find the beloved “green stuff on top of pita” again.
• Za’atar can be hard to find, feel free to replace it with a ¼ cup of store-bought pesto or even arugula pesto, just spread it on the naan instead of the olive oil and za’atar.
• Naan is pretty easy to find, but if you can't just use pita bread.
• If you can't serve it right away, you can always reheat it at 375-degrees for 3-4 minutes.
1 whole wheat naan pita
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. za’atar
3 tbsp. crumbled goat cheese
1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2) Brush the naan with the olive oil and sprinkle the za’atar evenly over the top.
3) Bake until it is golden and crispy, about 7 minutes.
4) Sprinkle the goat cheese over it. Put it back in the oven for 2-3 minutes, until the cheese is just slightly melted and warm. Serve immediately.