Za’atar Roasted Potato Wedges Recipe. And always on my mind.

 

Hi everyone.

Are you still with me? I’m still with you, as much or more than ever, because you are who I think of as I’m working away at Rose Water & Orange Blossoms, the cookbook. Which recipes to include, which innovations to explore, what stories to tell…even though it’s a certain solitary path, you’re always on my mind as I think these things through, every step of the way.

Writing this book is a little bit like a roller coaster ride. There’s all of the prep work, thinking, brainstorming, the coaster ticking its way up an incline. And the grocery shopping, that slow moment just before dropping ten thousand feet, which never seems to go swiftly even if I give myself a make-it-snappy pep-talk on the way in.

I’m a notorious picker of the slowest check-out lane. I find myself going through a whole new and improved training program for the slowpoke checkers in my head, while I balk at whoever the managers of these tortoises must be. Until I get up there and see, as I did the other day, that this checker is slower not due to lack of training, but a problem with her hands that appears to be something she has dealt with all her life, and still found her way to a job using her hands as a cashier. She welcomed me up with a confident apology and a smile. It’s moments like that when one is so grateful that the mind is a private place.

So there are recipe-testing days, and there are writing days. On testing days, there is an abundance of food at all hours of the day and a kitchen where it’s generally best, for its mayhem and mess, to be alone, except for all of the food that needs to be eaten. Writing days, also alone, but without the abundance of food. Then there are plates of cut-up vegetables, a good deal of toast, and when I get fancy, vegetables roasted in the oven.

I was reading recently about the spices we should keep around that will make us better cooks, with ease. A shake of one or the other of them can change a meal, especially if that meal is nothing more than the potatoes you happily found in a bag at the back of the pantry leftover from Christmas.

Wouldn’t you know that our za’atar, our sumac, are all-stars on that list of best spices? We’re not surprised, and it’s great to think of someone who has never used za’atar before pulling it out to ramp up the plate (notwithstanding the $8 small jars of za’atar now sold at Williams-Sonoma).

I like finding new and delicious places to sprinkle my za’atar too, like recently when I cut my potato-find into wedges, doused them generously with oil, spooned heaping scoops of za’atar over them and baked them at high heat until they got crunchy on the outside and soft inside.

These are very, very good, that’s what went through my mind as I ate the za’atar potatoes. I found myself asking you if you didn’t think so too?

When I realized you weren’t actually there to answer, I thought I’d better come on out here so we can have at them, together.

Za’atar Roasted Potato Wedges
For great za’atar flavor, use a whole lot of it when seasoning the potatoes. If you’re za’atar has salt in it, you won’t need but a pinch of salt.

4 tablespoons neutral oil, such as canola
2 large Russet potatoes
3 tablespoons za’atar
Pinch of fine sea salt

Pour 2 tablespoons of the oil into a rimmed baking sheet, and heat the oiled pan in the oven as you preheat the oven to 425⁰F.

Meanwhile, slice the potatoes in half lengthwise, then into 4 wedges lengthwise per half, for a total of about 8 wedges for each potato.

In a large bowl, coat the potato wedges with 2 tablespoons of oil. Dust them with the za’atar, stirring well after the addition of each tablespoon of za’atar, and salt.

Remove the pan with the hot oil from the oven and carefully arrange the wedges with cut-side down on the pan (listen to a great sizzle), along with any remaining za’atar and oil in the bowl drizzled over the potatoes.

Roast the potatoes until they are golden brown, with a crisp exterior and soft interior, 35-45 minutes. Turn the potatoes over and rotate the pan halfway through roasting. Serve the potatoes hot.

 

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26 Comments

  1. Tootsie on January 24, 2014 at 10:47 AM

    These look soooo good. I will have to get some za’atar to add to my Greek Potatoes

  2. Charlotte M. Musser on January 24, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    These potatoes are delicious! I, too, didn’t have the Za’atar, but will plan to purchase some. I have made something very similar for some time. They can be so versatile as well. I like “Spice House” in Chicago. I have to order online, but it is well worth it! These potato wedges are delicious with a spice called Maple-Garlic Gateway. Then, if you want, you can dip in a sour cream and barbecue flavored dip. Usually we just eat them hot from the oven without anything to dip them into. I can’t wait to purchase some of the Za’atar to spice them with.

    • Maureen Abood on January 24, 2014 at 12:25 PM

      That sounds delicious Charlotte!

  3. Jerry Wakeen on January 24, 2014 at 11:05 AM

    You’re back, thought my computer was acting up there for a while.
    Always look at your emails, enjoy thinking about the food but am going on a diet soon.
    best, Jerry

  4. Maureen on January 24, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    Will do this! But just want to remind readers that they should check if they have any Middle Eastern grocery stores in their areas before forking over $80 to Williams-Sonomomoney for za’atar…

    • Maureen Abood on January 24, 2014 at 12:25 PM

      Thanks Maureen! Yes, I was tongue-in-cheek about the high-priced za’atar…we get our big bags for less than $5!

      • Ani on March 3, 2014 at 12:54 AM

        I live in Wheaton…very close to Chicago. I buy za’atar at one of our local markets…yes, even in suburban Chicago, we can find it for $3.99 a bag or so. I so dislike when big chain stores make such a big deal about nothing. A little research goes a long way. P.S. I’m willing to sell it for $10. I may be onto something here. Any who, I stumbled upon your webpage today and have been reading it. I love it. I love that you followed your heart and followed it back home. Many (including me) have not either had the courage or ability to do so. Kudos to you. I look forward to reading more and trying some of your recipes. I’m sure my significant other (who is Palestinian) will be thrilled. It will be a nice change from Mexican. Kindest of regards, Ani (Armenian name but 100% Mexican). LOL…

        • Maureen Abood on March 3, 2014 at 8:43 AM

          Thanks so much Ani for your beautiful comment. Please keep in touch with me, and very best wishes as you cook up a storm (it’s going to be delicious! And I’d love to taste your Mexican food…).

  5. Alice Calsada on January 24, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    Yum… thanks, made a big salad on the side a little more za, tatar in the dressing, comfort food.

  6. E.B. on January 24, 2014 at 12:34 PM

    Found your blog through Hollye Jacobs’ blog (and found hers through Frances Schultz’). Love the recipes, stories, photos! The recipes are delicious, your stories bring back memories of my childhood kitchen and “helping” my grandmother.

    • Maureen Abood on January 24, 2014 at 2:04 PM

      That’s just terrific! Thanks so much for your kind words–I’ll look forward to seeing you here!

  7. ERIKA on January 24, 2014 at 1:02 PM

    These are great Maureen I like squeezing lemon on mine once they are done. I am looking forward to your book. 🙂

  8. Sarah Abood on January 24, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    These delicious-looking potato wedges could be dipped in leban! If you haven’t tried Maureen’s recipe for leban yet, I encourage everyone to think about it…2 simple ingredients, a candy-thermometer to monitor, and a little bit of your time is all it takes. Love your pictures, words and recipes Cousin Maureen…keep up the wonderful work.

  9. Diane Nassir (my maternal grandmother was an Abood (Jamileh) from Ammun Leb. on January 24, 2014 at 4:26 PM

    love za’atar–can never have enough–now a new way to use Hooray!!!

  10. Denise F Thomass on March 2, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    Hi Beautiful Maureen, thanks for your wonderful information and ideas and great writing. Put me on your emaling list please. Big Kiss, from Denise xo

    • Maureen Abood on March 3, 2014 at 8:41 AM

      Will do, Denise, thanks so much!

  11. verna on April 15, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    Love your blog. Brings back so many memories of my grandmother and all the wonderful food she cooked.

    For others like myself who may not live near a big city, I buy my za’atar online from Penzeys.com

    They even have Aleppo pepper which has a distinct flavor and really makes a difference in Middle
    Eastern dishes.

    • Maureen Abood on April 15, 2014 at 10:59 PM

      How great Verna, thank you–yes, big fan of Penzeys!

  12. Rasmi on May 16, 2014 at 1:27 AM

    Lovely recipe. I am going to make this today. I was wondering what to do with the packet of za’atar my sister sent me.

  13. Levana on April 22, 2015 at 4:36 PM

    I like to make my own za’atar, since I often find store-bought varieties to be bitter in taste or too expensive. While I’ve seen some ingredient variations / amounts in recipes for za’atar, I would love to know yours for this amazing spice, if you ever make it yourself.

    • Maureen Abood on April 27, 2015 at 7:51 AM

      Hi Levana–how great that you make your own za’atar! I started making my own and sharing it with everyone at Maureen Abood Market–check it out here!

  14. Judy on May 10, 2015 at 1:07 AM

    This sounds great. I love za’atar and LOVE potatoes so this sounds like a perfect match. Thank you for sharing. I plan to order your new book soon.

  15. Sabrina on May 22, 2015 at 5:26 PM

    What a great use for za’atar! I’ll have to give it a try

  16. Aruna on June 30, 2016 at 10:20 PM

    Would you tell me how to make Zatar ? I like freshly ground spices rather than spices that sit in the cabinet for months. I am of Indian origin . I do love Mediterranean food. I have tried so many of your recipes with amazing results. Thank you Maureen .

  17. Meredith Bartek on August 20, 2021 at 11:23 AM

    Hi Maureen! I’ve been enjoying your posts and recipes for several months. Unfortunately today I’m reading about roasted potatoes during a raw fruit and vegetable cleanse otherwise I’d be in the kitchen right now! I love Za’tar and use it often. Your quinoa tabouli recipe was wonderful! I pretty much followed your recipe but also added fresh cilantro which played nicely w/ the mint and parsley; next time I”ll try chopped chive and oregano from my garden. I am a long time vegetarian by choice but a few years ago I was diagnosed w/ Celiac disease; I take being gluten free very seriously and have always enjoyed trying (and usually altering) new recipes especially from different national cuisines; your posts have given me so much to try and think about! I wish I could give you a herb bouquet from my garden. Many thanks!

    • Maureen Abood on September 1, 2021 at 9:48 AM

      This is so wonderful to hear Meredith! Your sweet virtual herb bouquet is gratefully accepted!

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