This Roast Duck with Black Za'atar was quite the revelation. I'm a BIG fan of duck and I love nothing more than a beautifully pan fried duck breast or a spicy Indian Duck Vindaloo Curry or better still a big old bowl of duck fat roast potatoes - but most of all I adore a whole roast duck (sometimes to myself!).
The aromas of a roasting duck are to be cherished! This dish takes inspiration from the Middle East - Lebanon to be precise. Za'atar is one of my favourite things to include in Middle Eastern recipes as it's pre made and doesn't need any cooking. When it's sprinkled over food, like my awesome and simple Za'atar Bread with Beef and Shangleesh or a delicious Harissa Hummus wtih Za'atar it elevates the authentic Middle Eastern flavours.
What's in Za'atar?
Za'atar ingredients change slightly depending on who you talk to or which brand you buy pre-made. Generally speaking, za'atar includes Sesame Seeds, dried thyme, sumac, marjoram, oregano and salt.
My recipe for black za'atar, a variation, includes fresh herbs, and black sesame seeds. This is purely an aesthetic approach - you can 100% use a regular za'atar mix or replace black sesame with white sesame. A lot of people ask me, how long does Za'atar last? If you keep it in an airtight container, you can keep it up to 6 months and it'll taste delicious! You can keep it longer, but like most spices, it'll start to lose its kick the older it gets.
Buying Middle Eastern spices
If you're looking to buy Middle Eastern spices, I suggest buying a little of each at a time, buying less, more often ensures they'll always be fresh.
The mellow, earthy spice of za'atar works so well with the slight gamey quality of duck. The duck cooking time is low and slow, leaving it soft, and juicy. The sharp sweetness of the lemon is a further level of flavour, which sends this dish into a league of its own! This duck recipe is a must!