fried zaatar squares

A dinner quiz!

What do you want to eat tonight?
A) TAKE OUT!! The trashiest there is. Where the grease threatens to eat through the container before you can transport the “food” safely to your table.
B) Sunday Sauce. I want to brown things, set them aside, make a sauce, simmer it for hours, add the browned things back in, simmer those for hours, and to “unwind” while that’s happening, hey, why not roll out some fresh pasta. No biggie.
C) Make something real but easy. Lots of flavour. Healthy but hardy, no compromising on taste or opportunity to graze and probably eat a little too much which I will always do therefore it better not be super-processed or covered in fat.

Did you choose C? But you wanted A? And aspired to B but have a life and maybe want to leave your house today or it’s already 7PM by the time you take this nightly quiz? I would never turn down A but only allow something like it to happen once in a while because I’m not into buying a new wardrobe in a larger size that often. I really do dream of a B-like scenario frequently but it happens as frequently as A because LIFE.

The kind of meal pictured here is the kind I have most often: option C. Make something(s), because it’s always going to be healthier and tastier than if you’d bought it, and do not forget the accents! From raw herbs to dips to pickles, whether readymade or homemade, to maximize satisfaction from the feeling that you’re having something special in sum, even if the parts seem perfectly ordinary. Rolling out a little dough, adding some spice and pan-frying it so that you can enjoy it fresh is the work of minutes but makes all the difference. It’s a little luxury similar to having freshly made bread but with a quicker return and less room for error. Depending on where you’re at on the scale between option A-B on a particular evening, you could make some of your dips or pick and choose at the deli on the way home. Aside from making the dough, the only DIY required is opening the wine.

Fried Zaatar Squares Dinner

YS note: *Zaatar is a dried herb blend containing primarily thyme and sumac so feel free to substitute with those or oregano etc. as needed.

Pizza dough, homemade (a half portion of this recipe) or store-bought
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp zaatar* (or dried thyme and/or sumac)
Kosher salt

Spreads of your choosing of your choosing, such as eggplant and walnut pesto, hummous, spicy roasted tomatoes, yogurt, and pickles

Roll dough into a thin sheet about 16 x 16 inches on a well-oiled large cutting board or other clean surface that you can cut on, using an oiled rolling pin. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a bowl and mix in the zaatar and season with salt. Brush the dough with the mixture, turn over and repeat. Using a rolling pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the pizza into 2-inch squares.

Heat a cast iron or non-stick pan over medium heat and brush or wipe the surface with a thin slick of oil. Fry the squares in batches (brushing the pan again with oil between batches) on both sides until they are golden in spots and puffed up, about 2 minutes per side. Serve warm or at room temperature with spreads and pickles.

Serves 2-4 depending on your spreads.