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There are three cuisines that I could eat in rotation: Italian, Japanese and Lebanese; all of them remind me of the way food makes an essential difference to life and the honest pleasures to be derived therein. A book that contains recipes from a food chain may not sound promising, but 1) It is a superior food chain, and 2) These are very fine recipes. My tummy really rumbled as I leafed through, trying to decide what to choose for you. It was a hard, hard choice, but I went for the Feta and Za'tar Omelette, as it certainly lights up my weekend breakfasts and weekday suppers.

Feta And Za'Atar Omelette

From Comptoir Libanais by Tony Kitous and Dan Lepard, published by Preface, 2013.


Za'atar can cause a little confusion. It's the term for the Middle Eastern spice mix made from a heady combination of herbs, spices and seeds; however, it's also the name of a herb itself. As with so much of Middle Eastern cooking, there any many regional variations. Its uses are limitless: it can be sprinkled over food on its own, stirred into dips or through rice, or massaged over chicken or meat as a dry rub. In Lebanon it's strongly associated with the breakfast table, where it's used in both a sweet and a savoury context.


Serves 2


2 large eggs

1 teaspoon za'atar

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra to serve

25g feta cheese or firm goat's cheese, crumbled

salt and freshly ground black pepper


Beat the eggs in a bowl and season well with salt and pepper and ½ teaspoon of the za'atar. Heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan, no bigger than 17-18cm in diameter.

Pour in the beaten eggs and use a spatula to swirl the mixture around in the pan, drawing in parts of the omelette which have cooked and allowing the uncooked egg to run into the gaps. Continue to do this until all the egg is just set.

Scatter the cheese over the omelette and sprinkle the remaining za'atar over the top. Drizzle with extra oil, if you like, before serving.