A very simple herbal dip for challah and other bread, zaatar is a type of wild thyme, but the dip, a mixture of herbs, sesame seeds, olive oil, and salt, is also called by this name. Everyone Israeli has a favorite rendition of this nose and palate-opening opener. Here is an adaptation of Claudia Roden’s recipe for zaatar from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.
Mix 1 part ground dried thyme with 1 part lightly toasted sesame seeds, ¼ part dried sumac (available at Middle Eastern markets), with salt to taste. Place a couple of tablespoons of the mixture in a saucer or dessert dish and stir in about a tablespoon of best quality olive oil. Enjoy!