Za-atar salmon and tahini

By Yotam Ottolenghi
  • Facebook
  • Tweet
  • Pinterest
  • Email
  • Print

If you haven’t yet paired fish with tahini, then you’re in for a real treat! This baked version combines tahini with herbaceous za’atar and sour sumac. Using the nutty tahini will give you that creaminess you are after to balance out the spice. 



Za-atar Salmon

  • 4 salmon fillets (1 lb 5 oz/ 600g), skin on and pin bones removed
  • Salt and black pepper, for seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons za’atar
  • 2 teaspoons sumac, plus 1/2 teaspoon extra for sprinkling
  • 3 tablespoons (60 ml) olive oil
  • 9 oz (250 g) baby spinach


  • 1/3 cup (90 g) tahini
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 7 tablespoons (100 ml) water

To Serve

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


For the Salmon

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Pat dry the salmon (TIP: Swap out the salmon for other sustainably caught fish, adjusting cooking times as needed) 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 one tablespoon of oil. Once hot, add the spinach (TIP: You can use other leafy greens in place of spinach, such as kale or chard) and a pinch each of salt and pepper and cook for two to three minutes until just wilted. 
  4. Top with the salmon, skin side down, and drizzle the top of the fish with two tablespoons of oil. Bake for five minutes.

For the Tahini 

  1. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together the tahini, garlic, two and a half tablespoons of lemon juice, a good pinch of salt, and seven tablespoons/100ml of water until smooth and runny.
  2. Set aside for fish.

To Serve

  1. 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 five minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and the tahini is bubbling. 
  2. Spoon the remaining one tablespoon each of lemon juice and oil over everything and top with the cilantro and extra sumac.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

Watch The Marilyn Denis Show Daily at 10am ET on CTV