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What is Za'atar?
Za'atar is both an herb, as well as a spice mix. As an herb, it is native to the Middle East and the scientific name is Origanum syriacum. It is also the same as the biblical hyssop.
As a spice mix, the mix can vary depending upon what country it is from, according to flavor preference. However, it generally contains thyme, oregano, sesame seeds, salt, and sometimes sumac.
Za'atar pronounced “zah-tar,” is a supremely aromatic and fragrant spice blend. It's great mixed into hummus, as well as combined with a good quality olive oil to make a dipping sauce for pita bread. It's also perfect to season tilapia!
I am very fond of the za'atar that I purchased from my local grocery store, by McCormick. This organic seasoning contains thyme and oregano, sesame seed, lemon peel, and salt. This is a great option or feel free to use your favorite za'atar for this recipe. But most importantly, try seasoning some tilapia with this awesome spice blend you'll love it!
Let's Make Some Za'atar Spiced Tilapia!
Za'atar is a wonderful seasoning for seafood. Therefore, I decided to try it with tilapia. This dish is incredibly simple, quick, and delicately flavored. Consequently you can really enjoy the flavors of the Za'atar and the tilapia.
What Ingredients Do I Need For This Dish?
All you will need to make this Za'atar Spiced Tilapia is:
- Tilapia fillets or loins
- Olive oil
- Pinch of salt (if desired)
- Italian parsley as garnish
How To Make The Perfect Pan Fried Tilapia Seasoned With Za'atar
Making this dish takes less than 10 minutes and is super simple!
You basically season the tilapia liberally with the za'atar, and then pan fry in olive oil. To take this dish to the next level, please be sure to do the following:
- Take the tilapia out of your fridge approximately 1 hr before cooking.
- Try to remove as much moisture from the fish as you can by patting it dry with paper towels.
- Recommendation is to use a well seasoned cast iron pan if you have it.
- Be sure to get your pan and oil HOT before adding the tilapia.
- After placing the tilapia in your hot pan, try not to disturb it for at least 2 minutes. Then, very gently use a spatula to see if the tilapia gives, moves easily and is not sticking to the pan. That is the point at which you want to turn it to fry the other side.
If you follow these tips, you should get a fantastic result! The tilapia will be nice and browned and won't stick to your pan and fall apart!
While cooking, please take time to inhale the aromatic Za'atar. And practice pronouncing Za'atar ("zah-tar") until it just rolls off the tongue. 😃
Recommendations For Serving Za'atar Spiced Tilapia
We enjoyed the Za'atar Spiced Tilapia with warmed pita bread and hummus. This meal was simple, quick, and absolutely delicious!
Pearled couscous would also be a wonderful accompaniment to this fish!
In conclusion, I hope you will try this Za'atar Spiced Tilapia soon. Enjoy this taste of the Middle East tonight!
Some Other Recipes You May Enjoy!
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Quick and Easy Za'atar Spiced Tilapia
- Cast iron pan
- 1 lb tilapia fillets or loins
- 1 tablespoon Za'atar more if needed (just be sure to liberally season both sides of the fish)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- pinch salt to taste (if desired)
- 2 tablespoon parsley minced, for garnish
- Remove the tilapia from your fridge and allow to rest at room temperature for around 1 hr prior to cooking. Pat the tilapia dry with paper towels trying to remove as much moisture as you can.
- Heat up 2 tablespoon of olive oil (med high) in your cast iron pan being sure to coat the entire pan with the oil. Liberally season both sides of the 1 lb of tilapia filets or loins with the Za'atar spice.
- Add the seasoned tilapia to the pan, and pan fry until the tilapia gives and shifts easily. Try to give it around 2 minutes before you move the fish. If it sticks, leave it for another 30 seconds and try again then. Only turn the fish once it moves easily (keep trying every 30 seconds until you get the desired result). Repeat with the other side of the fish.
- Add minced parsley to garnish, and a pinch of salt to taste (if desired).