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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Recipe for Asparagus Soup Seasoned with Zatar

Ever heard of Zatar?  I've seen it mentioned in receipes but hadn't found where to buy it until I got the wonderful opportunity to stop by a Penzy's Spices retail store in Menlo Park, California during our recent trip to San Francisco.  I learned about Penzy's when a friend gave me a selection of Barbecue spices from them a few months ago.  I really like the spices and have gazed longingly at Penzy's wonderful selection of products online.  So when I found out there was a store in Menlo Park, I added it to our agenda.  Well, my agenda.   Mr. ELEB visited a running shoe store while I browsed and shopped to my heart's content.

From my shopping spree at Penzy's
I've been disappointed on several occasions when I had a recipe in mind or found someone else's good sounding recipe and couldn't find the spices I needed here (like ground ancho chili peppers, ajwain, or zatar).  It is one of the trade offs of living on Maui.  And I don't get the opportunity to see and try new "exotic" spices; they just aren't stocked here.

So, back to zatar.  According to Penzy's, zatar is traditionally used in Middle Eastern dishes.  It is a blend of crushed sumac, thyme, white sesame seeds and salt. I bought it to try Penzy's suggestion of pita sprinkled with olive oil and zatar but I was making asparagus soup from some left over stem bottoms (see previous post about this) and given the tantalizing smell of zatar (sort of lemony-sesame-earthy), I thought it would go well with the asparagus.

Yield: 2 servings
Time: 25 minutes

2 cups of chopped asparagus stems, woody parts trimmed off
3 cups of vegetable broth
1 TBSP chopped fresh mint, plus leaves for serving
1 TBSP zatar
Plain non-fat Greek yogurt for serving
1 TBSP toasted pine nuts for serving
Salt and pepper, if needed for serving

  • Simmer asparagus, broth, mint, and zatar over medium heat for 20 minutes or until asparagus is tender.
  • Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.
  • Using immersion blender, process until smooth. 
  • Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed.
  • Serve topped with a dollop of yogurt, mint leaves, and toasted pine nuts.

Another soup winner!  Let me know in the comment section if you have any good ideas for zatar.

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting recipe - the ingredients are so well chosen: seasonal, rich in flavour and health-building. I've not yet tried the Middle Eastern seasoning, so will look out for this as well. Very intriguing... Thanks Susie!