Za’atar Crusted Salmon


Mandy, my daughter’s best friend, kindly brought me back some authentic spices from her visit to Turkey. One of them is za’atar, a popular spice blend throughout the Middle East.  There are many variations of za’atar, but it is generally a mix of dried thyme, oregano. marjoram, sumac, sesame seeds, and salt.  I curiously tried it with this recipe and was thrilled with the outcome – it gives salmon not only tempting flavors but also an exquisite look!

Za’atar is not normally available in supermarkets, but you can easily make your own or purchase online. Garnish the salmon with lemon slices and complement with roasted asparagus as a side dish for an enjoyable meal.

If you don’t have the fancy za’atar, no worries: Mustard seeds or coriander seeds commonly available in super markets or spice stores are good substitutes and make nice crusts as well.  The flavor of mustard seeds is activated by cold, not by hot. The mustard seed crust will look more appealing than the coriander seed crust but less flavorful.

Prep Time: 5 minutes       Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 3 servings


  • 3  skin-on salmon fillets, each about 6 ounces with 1-inch thick
  • 1  1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cup za’atar (or use mustard seeds or coriander seeds as substitutes)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • Preheat the broiler.
  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place salmon skin side down on the foil.
  • Coat each fillet with olive oil.
  • Combine za’atar, brown sugar, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
  • Spread the spice mixture evenly over the top of each fillet.
  • Broil for 8 to 10 minutes until salmon flakes easily with a fork.




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