Why It Works
- The creamy, fresh-tasting avocado spread complements the warm, browned halloumi.
- The za'atar on the avocado spread echoes the za'atar in the ka'ak dough.
This sandwich works really because of its contrasting flavors and textures, and is a great way to showcase the versatility of this variation of ka'ak, an ancient ring-shaped bread that may be a precursor to the modern-day bagel. The ka'ak is both crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside; the avocado offers a creamy and sweet background to the bright notes of lemon and bitter notes of olives; the warm, griddled halloumi plays well with the freshness of the avocado spread; and the za’atar in the filling echoes the za'atar in the bread. Do try to source the cracked green olives sold in Middle Eastern grocery stores, as their flavor is quite different, carrying notes of bitterness and citrus not found in standard grocery store green olives.
- 2 Ka'ak With Za’atar, Turmeric, and Nigella Seed
- 1 medium (8-ounce; 225g) Hass avocado, halved, pitted, and flesh scooped
- 15 green olives (preferably a Middle Eastern variety), pitted and sliced in quarters
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) freshly squeezed juice from 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon za’atar blend, plus more for sprinkling (see note)
- Kosher salt
- 4 1/2 ounces (125g) halloumi cheese, cut into eight 1/4-inch-thick slices and patted dry
In a small bowl, mash avocado well. Stir in olives, lemon juice, and za'atar. Season with salt.
Using a serrated knife, slice ka'ak in half and toast.
Meanwhile, set a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, add halloumi, and cook, turning once, until well browned on each side, about 2 minutes per side.
Spread avocado mixture on ka'ak halves. Top each with 2 slices warm halloumi. Sprinkle with za'atar and serve open-faced.
Za’atar blend is usually a mixture of ground, dried thyme and oregano leaves mixed with salt, sumac, and sesame seeds. It is available at all Middle Eastern grocery stores and some supermarkets as well. If unavailable to you, you can substitute with 1/2 teaspoon ground dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds, and a pinch each of sumac and salt.