The Secret Ingredient (Za'atar): Za'atar Lamb Chops Recipe


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In the two weeks prior to this installment, I have made za'atar feel extremely out of place. I placed it where it did not belong, on salmon skewers and in fried chicken. I am sure it was most uncomfortable, and extremely cross with me. Even if it was delicious.

This week, I wanted to placate za'atar with a slightly more traditional treatment. I was getting up to speed on Mad Men this week, and I was struck by Betty Draper's "Around the World" dinner party, where every dish came from a new, far-flung location, starting in Spain, with gazpacho. Today, our dinner party starts in the Middle East, with succulent lamb, so typically paired with the region, highly seasoned with za'atar and olive oil and grilled, just three minutes per side, until the sumac and thyme and sesame are charred to a gorgeous smoking black and their perfumes violate the meat and seep into its very core while crusting the outside. So simple and fast, no one will believe you just transported them halfway around the world. I do love the unexpected, but sometimes the traditional can be just as delightful.



  • 1 1/4 pounds lamb chops (about 8)
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 stems mint, leaves chiffonaded
  • Salt


  1. Heat a grill pan on medium-high to high.

  2. Take the lamb off the grill. Serve immediately with the yogurt-mint sauce.