Pita chips with zaatar

July 24, 2010 at 7:11 pm (Middle East / N. Africa, Starches, unrated, Website / blog)

Derek and I hosted a poker game the other night and I wanted to serve something for people to snack on, but I didn’t want to be tempted by a bunch of sweets.  So I served hummus and one of our guests brought raw veggies. Plus, I made pita chips. When I was at a friend’s wedding in Israel a few weeks ago I ate about a million pitas that had been slathered with olive oil and either za’atar or chopped tomatoes, then cooked on a hot grill. They were fabulous, and addictive. I didn’t have the energy to make pita bread from scratch, nor did I have a hot grill to cook them on. So instead I bought some pita bread at the Turkish store near me, cut them into triangles, tossed them with (unrefined, nutty-tasting) canola oil and zatar, and crisped them up in the oven. They were a hit at poker night.

I had one pack of large pita breads, maybe about 6? I sort of followed this recipe, except rather than the pepper, salt, and basil, I used zatar that my sister gave me.  Zaatar (which as you can see I can’t decide how to spell in English, and neither can anyone else) is a spice mixture made from dried wild thyme (or another related green herb like oregano or marjoram), sesame seeds, and salt.  I’ve also seen red za’atar made with sumac, but the mix from Israel was all green.  I couldn’t tell which herb was in it, but it was tasty on the pita bread.

Although the pita chips around the edge of the pan were done after around 5 minutes, the rest of the chips took longer to crisp up.  I had to keep removing the ones from the edges so that they didn’t burn before the others finished cooking.  Some of the pita chips seemed a bit sodden with oil.  I clearly didn’t distribute it very evenly.  Next time I’d try cutting the oil and brushing it across the whole pitas before I cut them up.

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