Grilled Za’atar Chicken Pitas with Cilantro Hummus
Za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice mix made of dried herbs and seeds such as sumac, thyme and sesame, is the seasoning du jour, popping up on menus in the hottest restaurants. Here, we make our own to flavor lemon-kissed chicken, which pairs perfectly with cilantro hummus and tangy pickled radishes.
5 large cloves garlic, divided (: Roughly chop 3 cloves; leave 2 cloves whole.)
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp fresh lemon juice, divided
1 tbsp plus 2 tsp safflower oil, divided
1/4 tsp ground sumac
1/4 tsp ground thyme
1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp ground coriander, divided
1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp ground cumin, divided
12 oz boneless, skinless chicken cutlets
1 cup BPA-free canned unsalted chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt, divided
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp toasted sesame seeds, optional
4 small reduced-sodium whole-grain pitas, warmed and split
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp raw honey
1 pinch sea salt
6 whole cloves
6 whole black peppercorns
9 small radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
In a medium baking dish, whisk 3 cloves roughly chopped garlic, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp oil, sumac, thyme and 1/4 tsp each coriander and cumin until well blended. Add chicken and turn several times to coat. Set aside to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare radishes: In a small saucepan, whisk vinegar, honey, 1 pinch salt and 1/2 cup water. Add cloves and peppercorns, bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. In a medium heat-proof bowl, add radishes. Pour vinegar mixture over top and let sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, prepare hummus: In a food processor, pulse remaining 2 whole cloves garlic until finely chopped. Add chickpeas, broth, cilantro, remaining 2 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp oil, 1/8 tsp each coriander and cumin, 1/4 tsp salt and ground black pepper. Process until smooth. Refrigerate until needed.
Scrape and discard garlic from chicken and season chicken with remaining 1/4 tsp salt. Brush a grill pan or grill with remaining 1 tsp oil and heat on medium-high. Add chicken and cook, turning once, until golden and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
Divide chicken, radishes, hummus and sesame seeds (if using) among pitas.
Packed with veggies, chickpeas and crunchy pita chips, this Lebanese salad makes a satisfying meal. If you can’t find Za’atar, a Middle-Eastern spice blend, make your own variation by mixing equal amounts of dried thyme, sesame seeds and ground sumac.
This slow-cooker version of the Middle Eastern classic is given a twist with ras el hanout, a North African spice blend that can include ginger, anise, cinnamon, nutmeg, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, nigella, mace, galangal, turmeric and dried flowers such as lavender and rose.