Hey guys. Lauren here, reporting for another tasty food update!
This weekend, Nick and I are off to wondrous Vancouver for a relaxing 48 hours jam-packed with sightseeing. Sightseeing of the natural AND food/drink variety.
I have to be honest here. Most times we plan our getaways based on the food that is there. Nick is an avid food-Yelper. When he is not building websites or playing video games, he is almost definitely looking at pictures of food online. We are two peas in a pod! Food pun intended.
[I plan on posting pictures of the city- and nature-scapes we find there. So, stay tuned!]
Creamy Za’atar Potatoes & Pan-Roasted Chicken
In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a super simple, tasty side dish. We paired our Creamy Za’atar Potatoes with some crispy pan-roasted chicken thighs, but you could certainly sub seared tofu into the mix — or just eat a big bowl of this on its own. It’s that good!
I serve my roasted potatoes with a creamy za’atar sauce. Because your potatoes should always have a sauce to go with them. And that sauce doesn’t always have to be ketchup (but it can be, I guess. I am not hating on ketchup!).
Za’atar Spice Mix
Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice mixture that typically includes dried herbs, sesame seeds, dried sumac along with variations of other dried spices and salt. Mix it with some good quality olive oil and you’ve got yourself a yummy sauce to dip your bread into! Or, use as a dry rub for meats, cook in soups, sprinkle on pizza. So many things, guys, so many things…
Once I heard about za’atar (thanks Food Network!), I knew I wanted to try it, but I couldn’t find it at my typical grocery store.
Luckily, I was able to score some at my neighborhood Fremont Sunday Market. Thank you, All Things Rich, you totally made my day! (Also, I would totally support your website right here and now, but I couldn’t find you on the internet. Why no website???)
Rich’s blend of za’atar contains dried thyme, sesame, red sumac, spices and olive oil. All Things Rich is a local vendor, but some of these spices are imported.
Creamy Za’atar Sauce
Okay, so maybe it’s a cross between a dressing and a sauce. I don’t care, you just need to try it!
The fresh lemon juice in this sauce perfectly enhances the lemony flavor of the dried sumac in the za’atar. Also, I put fresh lemon juice on just about everything I eat, but it works wonders on rich and savory roasted Yukon Golds. AND, the creaminess of the canned coconut milk balances the acidity in the lemon juice so, so well.
TIP: If you’re ever trying to make a creamy dressing that’s also vegan/dairy-free, I highly recommend the coconut cream that can be found on top of a full-fat unsweetened can of coconut milk (usually found in the international aisle). Just don’t shake the can before you open it, and you’ll be able to easily scoop it out, using it in place of heavy cream, Greek yogurt, or mayo. It works wonders!
And don’t even think about throwing away the rest of that canned coconut milk. The rest can be used in smoothies, soup broths, marinades. Store it in a sealed jar in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
Bright and creamy za'atar potatoes paired with crispy salty pan-roasted chicken. Enjoy this quick and tasty meal any night of the week!
For the Potatoes and Asparagus:
4-6 yukon gold potatoes
1 bunch asparagus
1 tbsp olive oil, divided
red pepper flakes
For the Chicken:
4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
1 tbsp olive oil
Creamy Za'atar Sauce:
juice from 1 lemon (reserve lemon zest before juicing!)
1/2 cup coconut cream (from 1 can of full-fat coconut milk)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp za'atar spice mix
red pepper flakes
1/4 cup fresh herbs (I used fresh oregano)
1/4 cup pistachios
Prep: Clean and chop potatoes into 1" chunks. Remove hard ends from asparagus and chop stalks into 1" pieces. Zest the lemon. Chop the pistachios. Clean and chop the fresh herbs. Separate coconut cream from coconut milk (save coconut milk for another recipe!).
Roast Veggies: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place oven racks in upper and lower thirds of the oven. In a large bowl, toss potatoes with 1/2 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and into the oven in the upper rack. Roast for 15 mins. Meanwhile, toss the asparagus with 1/2 tbsp olive oil, season with salt and pepper. After potatoes have been roasting for 15 mins, remove from oven and toss. Add asparagus to same baking sheet and place back into the oven. Roast together for 10 minutes more (or until cooked through).
Cook Chicken: Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Pat chicken thighs dry and season generously with salt and pepper. Once oil is hot, place chicken thighs skin-side down into the pan. (If you can't fit all 4 in the same skillet, work in 2 batches.) Sear chicken for 6-8 minutes, then flip and put directly onto the lower oven rack. Cook for 12-16 minutes more, or until the chicken is no longer pink on the inside.
Make Za'atar Sauce: Add all dressing ingredients into a mini food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
Combine: Place veggies back into the large bowl, drizzle with Creamy Za'atar Sauce (reserve some for serving), lemon zest, chopped pistachios and fresh herbs. Toss to combine.
Serve: Serve chicken thighs and potatoes together on a plate. Drizzle additional Creamy Za'atar Sauce over everything.
It's winter right now, but we randomly found some asparagus on sale, so it's making an appearance in this dish! If you don't have asparagus, use another hearty vegetable or add more potatoes.