I can’t remember the first time I came across za’atar, but my obsession with it fully peaked when a company based out of New Zealand called Sami’s Kitchen, reached out to me. Sam, who co-owns the business sent over a sampling of his Middle Eastern spices, and immediately, I was hooked.
Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice mix that includes dried oregano, toasted sesame seeds and sumac. There are different variations of the spice mix, and every one you try will likely taste a little bit different from the last. Za’atar has a puckery, zesty taste that vaguely reminds me of lemon zest. After including Sami’s Kitchen Za’atar in our November Pairings Box, I’ve literally been putting Za’atar in everything. I season vegetables with it before roasting them. I sprinkle it on chicken. I toss it along with fresh tomatoes in salad. And, recently, I’ve been putting it on pizza with loads of fresh burrata cheese.
What came together in my kitchen was a little pit of pizza magic: an adaptation of my favorite pizza dough recipe from Pizzeria Mozza, topped with my favorite zesty spice, a little bit of olive oil and gorgeous dollops of creamy burrata cheese. I chose to play up the herb-forward flavor of the pizza by adding in a bit of fresh chopped rosemary into the dough. This pizza would be delicious as a meal or an appetizer, and bridges the road between Italy and the Middle East in a pretty unique way.
Za'atar Flatbread with Burrata Recipe
- 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons unrefined cane sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose or bread flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole spelt flour
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons za'atar spice
- 1 piece fresh burrata cheese
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil, yeast, sugar, salt and 1 cup of warm water (115°F). Let the mixture sit for about 10 to 12 minutes (until it’s foamy).
- Add the flours and chopped rosemary. Mix on slow speed. Switch to a dough hook and knead the dough for about 6 to 8 minutes (until smooth). Divide the dough into two balls. Place them on a floured baking sheet and cover with a sheet of lightly oiled plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rest for 2 to 3 hours or until it is nearly tripled in size.
- Place a pizza stone on the lowest rack of the oven and heat your oven to 500°F. Place one ball of dough on a floured sheet of parchment paper. Use your fingers to stretch it out to a 10 inch diameter. Work from the center and be careful not to stretch too thin. The center should be relatively thin; leave a 1 inch border of slightly thicker, puffier crust. Repeat with the second ball of dough.
- Cover the pizza crusts with kitchen towels and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Brush both pizzas with olive oil (including the crust) and sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of za'atar. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Transfer one of the pizzas, on the parchment paper, to the pizza stone. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes (until golden and puffy). Remove the pizza from the oven and carefully transfer it to a cutting board. Top with dollops of burrata and drizzle with more olive oil. Repeat with the second pizza.