Sunday, May 1, 2016

Fattoush Salad

This time of year, I get so excited about fresh produce. Salads become meals and meals become salads. A bit of chopping and dinner is made. Perfection.

Just over a year ago I tried Fattoush salad for the first time and I was immediately smitten. I wondered how I had lived so long without ever encountering this Middle Eastern salad. The fresh herbaceous flavours make this the perfect accompaniment to summer barbecues, but it is also stellar on its own with some feta or served alongside some olives, hommous and pita.

And try to refrain from eating all those freshly baked pita chips as they come out of the oven. They may become your new favourite snack and a great accompaniment to summer appetizers.

Fattoush Salad
Serves 4
Fattoush is a Middle-Eastern salad of varying compositions but generally consisting of using dried pita bread and a variety of greens, vegetables and herbs. It is a great way to use leftover pita bread. 

Although what follows is a recipe, play with it and adapt it to what you have in your fridge and what ingredients you like. A touch of mint and parsley are highly recommended.

Toast pita bread: 
Using 3-4 pitas, brush with olive oil, or melted butter/olive oil combo, sprinkle with salt, cut into pieces and toast in oven at 350 degrees for 6 minutes. Let cool. Can be made ahead and stored in a sealed container for several days.

In large salad bowl, whisk together dressing:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice (approx. 1 lemon, juiced)
1 garlic clove, minced or crushed
1/4 tsp salt 
optional: ½ tsp sumac or za'atar spice 
(I sprinkled my salad with za'atar which contains sumac)

Into the dressing bowl, add:
Spring salad greens or chopped romaine lettuce
2 bell peppers, chopped
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped or 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large cucumber, chopped
2-3 radishes or green onions, chopped
optional (but highly recommended):
 ½ cup chopped assorted herbs: parsley, chives, mint
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled

Toss until combined with pieces of pita chips. Serve immediately.