February 7, 2022

Za’atar Salmon And Tahini

Recipe: Yotam Ottolenghi and Noor Murad

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Try this Za’atar Salmon And Tahini recipe from the new cookbook, Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love.

If you haven’t yet paired fish with tahini, then you’re in for a real treat. This version combines tahini with herbaceous za’atar and sour sumac, our ever familiar but much treasured test kitchen staples. We strongly recommend using creamy, nutty tahini that’s sourced from countries within the Levant. Eat this shortly after cooking, as cooked tahini doesn’t sit or reheat very well.


  • 4 salmon fillets (1 lb 5 oz/ 600g), skin on and pin bones removed
  • 2 tbsp za’atar
  • 2 tsp sumac, plus ½ tsp extra for sprinkling
  • 4 tbsp/60ml olive oil
  • 9 oz/250g baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup/90g tahini
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tbsp roughly chopped cilantro leaves
  • salt and black pepper


Yield: Serves 4

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Pat dry the salmon and sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the za’atar and sumac, then sprinkle this all over the top of the salmon to create a crust.
  3. Place a large, oven-safe sauté pan on medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Once hot, add the spinach and a pinch each of salt and pepper and cook for 2–3 minutes, until just wilted.
  4. Top with the salmon, skin side down, and drizzle the top of the fish with 2 tablespoons of oil. Bake for 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together the tahini, garlic, 2½ tablespoons of lemon juice, a good pinch of salt, and 7 tablespoons/100ml of water until smooth and quite runny.
  6. When ready, remove the pan from the oven and pour the tahini all around the salmon (but not on the fish at all). Bake for another 5 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and the tahini is bubbling. Spoon the remaining 1 tablespoon each of lemon juice and oil over everything and top with the cilantro and extra sumac.

Make it your own:

  • Swap out the salmon for other sustainably caught fish, adjusting cooking times as needed.
  • Use other leafy greens in place of spinach, such as kale or chard.

Excerpted from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love by Yotam Ottolenghi and Noor Murad. Copyright © 2021 Yotam Ottolenghi and Noor Murad. Photography by Elena Heatherwick. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.