Grilled Salmon with Za'atar and Lemon

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 to 8

The aromatic Middle Eastern blend known as za’atar, typically a mixture of ground sumac, sesame seeds and other spices and herbs, is infinitely versatile, delicious sprinkled on everything from grilled meats, roasted vegetables to a bowl of hummus. Here we sprinkle homemade za’atar over a whole side of salmon before grilling, then finish the dish with charred lemon slices and a shower of summery herbs for bright flavor.


  • Canola oil for brushing
  • 1 skin-on whole side of salmon, about 3 lb. (1.5 kg)
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 Tbs. ground sumac
  • 1 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 lemons, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup packed mixed fresh herb leaves, such as dill, mint, parsley and thyme


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill, or preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush the grill grates or grill pan with canola oil.

Rub the salmon on both sides with the olive oil. In a small bowl, stir together the sumac, sesame seeds, coriander, cumin, thyme, 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper. Sprinkle evenly over both sides the salmon.

Place the salmon, skin side down, on the grill and arrange the lemon slices around it. Cook for 10 minutes, then, using a spatula, carefully flip the salmon and lemon slices. Continue cooking until the salmon reaches the desired doneness, about 5 minutes for medium-rare, and the lemon slices are lightly charred.

Using 2 large spatulas, carefully transfer the salmon to a serving platter. Drizzle with olive oil, top with the herbs and grilled lemon slices and serve. Serves 6 to 8.

Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen

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