Zahtar is a spice blend that works magic on roasted chicken. This simple roasted chicken is paired with a quick tangerine couscous – a simple little jewel for summer dining.
Zahtar is a spice blend containing ground sumac, thyme and sesame seeds used in Middle Eastern cuisine, and a true jewel to add to your Bijouxs pantry. This rich, earthy-green spice blend is perfect for roasted meats such as chicken, and almost addictive on toasted pita or flatbreads splashed with a bit of olive oil. Look for zahtar (za’atar) in neighborhood markets specializing in Middle Eastern cuisine, gourmet food shops, locally at Nicole’s, or have an adventure in spices by visiting the Spice Station in Silverlake, where they carry three unique zahtar blends, of course you may also order online.
Once you have secured the zahtar it is time to roast the chicken. Leg and thigh sections are great for this simple roast, you may use any cuts of chicken you favor, just adjust the cooking time for larger pieces such as bone-in breasts. Coat the chicken pieces liberally with olive oil, rub the zahtar spice to coat all the surfaces and marinate covered in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. Place the chicken, along with the marinade, in a large roasting pan into a 425° oven for about 45 minutes and the zahtar will do its magic creating a deep brown, crispy, flavor-rich crust. Grilling the chicken is also an option just keep an even grill temperature, ensuring that the zahtar crust does not burn.
While the chicken is roasting, there is plenty of time to put together the quick tangerine couscous. I found lovely organic Paige tangerines, but any small sweet tangerine variety will create perfect bite-size sections for the couscous. The quick cook couscous is dressed with a simple tangerine-based dressing spiced with cumin and tossed right before serving with the tangerine sections, pistachios, and fresh cilantro.
Beautifully simple – Zahtar Chicken with Tangerine Couscous, a little summer jewel.
As always, enjoy. B