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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ode to the Middle East: Part 2- Fattoush Salad

Fattoush. This is the salad that my brother fell in love with when he came to visit us in Syria (although he did mistakenly call it Phantoof....).

The reason why I love this salad (and probably why my brother loves it also) is because it has great texture and flavor. It is so fresh tasting and the tartness of fresh lemon juice, tanginess and saltiness of the olives, bite of the onions,  and the crunch of the fried or toasted pita bread all complement each other. It is a great starter salad, as it is traditionally eaten, or could be great as a meal, topped with some roasted chicken.

And the best part is that it can easily be made anywhere in the world!

Traditional fatoush uses a slightly bitter green called Purslane. If you cannot find purslane, you can use watercress, or baby arugula. It also uses a spice called sumac, which is ground from red berries and imparts a sour, lemony taste.

Here is my fatoush recipe:

Fatoush Salad
Serves 2

2 Tomatoes, cut into large dice
1 English Cucumber, cut into large dice (cut into 4 lengthwise, then chop)
1 bunch Purslane (Watercress, Baby Arugula, or Lettuce)
1/4 cup Black Olives (pitted, sliced, or whole.... your choice)
1 Shallot, thinly sliced

For the dressing:
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
2 tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
1 tsp Sumac
1 tsp Dried Mint
1 tsp Dried Thyme
1 clove Garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp Salt

1 Round of Pita Bread

In a large bowl, mix together all the salad ingredients. For the purslane or watercress, use the leaves and small stems only. For the lettuce, chop into bite sized pieces.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients.

Place the pita bread in the oven (350 degrees) until crisp- about 5 minutes. Break into bite sized pieces. (You could also fry this bread as done traditionally. Cut into 1 inch pieces and fry in oil until crisp).

To put it all together, toss the dressing into the salad and top with the crisp pita bread.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Heather;

    I just discovered your blog. Nice work! Looks like you're doing very well for yourself. Take care.