Month of July: “Purple Citrus Sweet Perfume” Recipe: White Butter Bean, Feta and Za’atar Spread

“Try something different. Surrender.” Rumi

Feeling tired from all the emotions of the week but had just enough energy to make it to the studio and cook a little something. This is a really good dip. I am definitely hooked on eastern Mediterranean cooking. Where have I been all these years? This recipe is so interesting with roasted garlic, za’atar, lemon zest and feta. Yum. And such a welcome new flavor palate.

Za’atar is both an herb and a blend of herbs, that’s confusing, right? Za’atar the herb is a type of thyme that grows in the Middle East. Here we are offered a dried blended herb recipe of our own instead of buying one already packaged. This way you get the freshness, which as always in cooking, really matters. Plus, it’s really easy to make.

Ingredients: 1 cup of dried butter or cannellini beans, soaked overnight in water to cover, drained and peeled, sea salt, freshly ground pepper, 1 large head of garlic cut in half, 6 tablespoons of olive oil, grated zest of 1 lemon, juice of 1/2 lemon, 5 ounces crumbled feta, 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint, 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds toasted and ground, 1 teaspoon of za’atar

  1. Preheat oven to 400F, drizzle a little olive oil over the garlic, place on baking sheet and roast for about 30-40 minutes. Cool
  2. Cook beans until tender about 30 minutes depending on how fresh they are, mine took longer, Cool, drain and process to a rough puree.
  3. Squeeze the garlic out of its skin and add to the beans, Stir half of the olive oil into the bean mixture. Mix in lemon zest and juice. Then add feta, cumin and mint and stir, add seasoning.
  4. Place in a serving dish and drizzle with rest of olive oil and sprinkle with Za’atar. Serve with flat bread.

Za’atar Herb mixture

2 tablespoons of dried oregano or thyme, 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted, 1 tablespoon crushed sumac, 1 tablespoon dried marjoram, 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix together and store in a jar.

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