Buttermilk Marinade with Za’atar Recipe | Wine Enthusiast Magazine
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Buttermilk Marinade with Za’atar

Courtesy Liz Pearson

This is a slight twist on the classic technique of using buttermilk in your chicken marinade to more effectively tenderize the meat and retain moisture. Here we utilize a unique and versatile Mediterranean seed and spice blend called za’atar to deepen the natural flavors.


1½ cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons za’atar (Mediterranean herb and sesame seed mix, available at specialty markets)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme


In medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Turn chicken in marinade to coat well. Cover and refrigerate from 8 hours to overnight, turning chicken once or twice.

Shake off excess marinade from chicken and discard marinade. Roast chicken according to instructions.

Pair It

Ben Kaufman is the general manager at Barano in Brooklyn, New York. He created the beverage program for the Italian pizza, pasta and wood-fired rotisserie restaurant, so this Mediterranean-flavored bird sings to him. He recommends Caravaglio’s 2015 Malvasia Bianco Secca (Salina). “It has wonderful floral aromatics and peach notes, as well as a beautiful salinity, due to the large salt—farming industry on the island. The salinity will play nicely with the buttermilk…and the island herbs on the palate of the wine will enhance the Mediterranean flare of the za’atar.”

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