Za'atar-Rubbed Cod With Spicy Chickpea Puree and Grilled Zucchini

Aromatic, za'taar-rubbed cod rests on a bed of habenero chickpea puree, alongside lemony, grilled zucchini. [Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

Note: Za'atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend that's available at ethnic markets and online. You can also make your own blend using 1/4 cup sumac, 2 tablespoons oregano, 2 tablespoons dried thyme, 2 tablespoons marjoram, 1 tablespoon toasted, coarsely ground sesame seeds and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt.

About the author: Jennifer Olvera is a veteran food and travel writer and author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Chicago." Follow her on Twitter @olverajennifer.

Every recipe we publish is tested, tasted, and Serious Eats-approved by our staff. Never miss a recipe again by following @SeriousRecipes on Twitter!

Za'atar-Rubbed Cod With Spicy Chickpea Puree and Grilled Zucchini

About This Recipe

Yield:Serves 4
Active time:30 minutes
Total time:45 minutes
Special equipment:Food processor or blender, grill
This recipe appears in: Za'atar-Rubbed Cod With Spicy Chickpea Purée and Grilled Zucchini


  • For the Chickpea Purée:
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained, liquid reserved
  • 1 habanero chili, stemmed and seeded
  • 4 medium cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice from about 4 lemons, divided
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • For the Zucchini:
  • 4 medium zucchini, ends removed and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
  • For the Fish:
  • 4 skinless cod fillets, 6 to 8 ounces each.
  • 2 tablespoons za’atar seasoning
  • Freshly ground black pepper.
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley


  1. 1

    Place chickpeas, habanero, garlic, tahini and 1/4 cup lemon juice in a food processor or blender. Pulse to combine to a chunky puree. With the motor running, add 2 tablespoons olive oil in a slow, steady stream and process until smooth. If mixture is too thick, add some of the reserved canning liquid to achieve a thinner-but-sturdy, sauce-like consistency. Refrigerate until ready to use.

  2. 2

    Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over half of coal grate. Alternatively, set half the burners of a gas grill to high heat. Set cooking grate in place, cover gill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate.

  3. 3

    Place zucchini in a large bowl and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine.

  4. 4

    Place zucchini over hot side of grill, perpendicular to grill grates. Cook until well charred, about 2 minutes, then flip and cook until second side is charred, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Set aside on a large plate.

  5. 5

    Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle cod fillets with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and rub with za’atar seasoning. When oil is shimmering, add fish fillets and cook without moving until well browned on first side, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip with a flexible metal spatula and cook on second side until just cooked through, about 2 minutes longer.

  6. 6

    Place a generous dollop of chickpea puree on each of four individual plates. Set fish on top, alongside grilled zucchini. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.


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