Monday, August 9, 2010
A Simple Lebanese "Crumbled Bread" Salad (Fattoush)
I have to say that it has been sticky and hot here. Not sunny mind you. Just sticky and hot. Makes it so I don't feel like doing the outdoor grilling thing and swimming and stuff like that. I just feel mean and grumpy and sticky from the humidity. So, I must admit that cooking has not been my go to fun time activity. So, the other night all I could think of was this recipe that I saw for Fattoush. Fattoush is a Lebanese bread salad made with fresh vegetables, sumac and pita chips.
This isn't a long post of my weekend antics and my Big Fat Greek Dinner. That is coming soon. I just wanted you to have this recipe in case you were sticky and grumpy and just needed something to cool you down.
Fattoush (Lebanese "Crumbled Bread" Salad with Sumac and Pita Chips)
Adapted from http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com/ but she got it from someone named "Lori"
2 whole wheat pita pocket breads, cut into strips about 3/4 inch wide, then toasted and crumbled
1 tsp. chopped garlic (2-4 cloves garlic)
1 tsp. salt (I used fine grind sea salt)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, about 2 large lemons (I love lemon, so adjust the amount to your own taste)
1 tsp. powdered Sumac, plus more for sprinkling on individual salads if desired)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 heads Romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
1 cup diced tomatoes (let drain a minute or two if extra juicy)
1 cup diced cucumber (same size as tomatoes)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley (leaves only, no stems)
optional ingredients: chopped green pepper or radishes (I didn't use either of these but Lori's recipe had green peppers and I saw several recipes that added chopped radishes.)
Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400F/200C. While oven heats, mash together the chopped garlic and salt using a mortar and pestle, or the side of a knife or spoon. Put garlic-salt paste in a small bowl, then add lemon juice and 1 tsp. Sumac. Whisk in olive oil and set dressing aside. (You can also make the dressing in a glass jar and shake to combine.)
Cut whole wheat pita into strips about 3/4 inch wide and arrange on baking sheet. (I brushed pita strips with some olive oil and sprinkled with salt) Bake until pita strips are crisp but only barely starting to brown, less than 10 minutes. Watch carefully because they can go from crisp to overly brown rather quickly.
Remove outer leaves from Romaine, trim stem end, then wash and spin dry or dry with paper towels. Cut Romaine into fourths lengthwise, then turn and chop crosswise into small pieces. (If you have a salad spinner, you can chop the Romaine first, then wash.) Put chopped Romaine into salad bowl large enough toss all ingredients.
Chop tomatoes, green onions, cucumbers, mint, and parsley and add to lettuce. Add about half of the dressing and toss, then add crumbled pita chops and toss again with more dressing. (You may not want all the dressing, but this salad should be quite wet.) At this point the salad should sit for a few minutes (or longer) to let flavors blend and so the pita chips absorb some of the dressing.
To serve, arrange salad on individual plates and sprinkle with a bit more Sumac. You can also serve it in a large bowl with the Sumac sprinkled over.