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Za'atar: Middle Eastern spice reminiscient of wild thyme and oregano that goes back centuries

Za’atar Chicken Cutlets and Lemon-Parsley Salad

30 minutes

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Za’atar Chicken Cutlets and Lemon-Parsley Salad

Our search for ways to spice up weeknight chicken took us to the Middle East where za’atar is a popular seasoning blend that often includes sesame seeds, sumac, thyme, oregano, marjoram and salt. We were influenced by Ana Sortun, who often uses za’atar at her Oleana restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She calls za’atar “craveable” and jokes, “I can imagine it as the next Doritos flavor.” Her recipe for crispy lemon chicken with za’atar calls for making a lemon confit and stuffing it under the skin of whole halves of deboned chicken along with cubes of butter. We took a simpler tack and coated chicken cutlets in a flour-za’atar mixture. We also used lemon zest and juice in our sauce along with tart and smoky Aleppo pepper, which has a fruity, moderate heat. If you can’t find Aleppo pepper, sweet paprika is a decent substitute, but add a pinch of cayenne for a touch of heat.

4

Servings

Tip

Don’t substitute chicken breasts here without pounding the meat first. Boneless, skinless chicken cutlets were ideal for fast cooking and are widely available at grocers. If you only have chicken breasts, use a meat mallet or heavy skillet to flatten them to an even ¼ inch.

30 minutes

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