Monday, August 27, 2007

Monday Recipe: Za'atar Chicken

One of my favorite recipes of all time is from Nigella Lawson, the lovely British cook that has finally joined the Food Network with her own show. At my house, we call it "dirty finger chicken" and after making it you'll know why!

It's very simple and comes from her cookbook, Forever Summer, which is all around a great cookbook. I got it several years ago when I was still living in Boston and it was challenging to find Za'atar (thyme, sumac & sesame seeds), the key ingredient. You can find this spice in most Middle Eastern grocery stores, or in the spice section of Fairway, right before the coffee area.

It's so easy to make and is very cost effective. You buy a chicken, cut up into pieces, and then marinate them in ziploc bags overnight with olive oil, a generous amount of Za'atar, salt and pepper. Basically you put the chicken pieces in first (you probably need two large freezer Ziploc bags), add the oil to coat, and then the Za'atar to coat. You can also marinate for a few hours, but the longer the better!

Afterwards, dump the bags of chicken out into a baking dish and make sure to squeeze out the seeds and oil on top. You can add some more seasoning if some sides of the chicken pieces are bare. Pop the dish into pre-heated oven and roast at 425 degrees for 40 minutes or so, and the outside will be crispy delicious while the meat tender and tasty.

As a side, Nigella serves up fattoush salad, which I highly recommend. It's a blend of chopped ripe tomato, cucumber, scallion and toasted pita that has been broken up to absorb a basic dressing of olive oil, apple cider vinegar and a squeeze or two of lemon.


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