Monday, June 20, 2011

Fattoush Salad

I had fattoush for the first time last summer after a day of wedding dress shopping with my cousin. I have never been to a Middle Eastern restaurant before so I had to rely on menu suggestions from my fellow dining companions. The votes were evenly split between the fattoush salad and the chicken shawarma. Like any passionate eater, I ordered both with a side of hummus thrown in for good measure. Dress shopping can really work up an appetite! After my cousin's wedding this spring, I got an itch to recreate that delicious meal. A delivery from Penzeys and a short Google search resulted in this spot on salad. Be sure to check out the Chicken Shawarma and Hummus that completed my meal recreation.

Fattoush Salad
recipe courtesy of Kalyn's Kitchen

1 whole wheat pita
½ teaspoon chopped garlic
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, about 1 large lemon
½ teaspoon powdered Sumac, plus more for sprinkling on individual salads if desired
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped
¼ cup thinly sliced green onion
2/3 cup diced tomatoes
½ cup diced cucumber
¼ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
¼ cup diced green pepper

Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400°F. 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 ½ teaspoon 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 through the pocket and into strips about ¾ inch wide; arrange on baking sheet. (Some recipes call for brushing the pita with olive oil, but I didn't do that.) 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. Allow to cool slightly then crumble.

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. You can make the salad 30 minutes prior to serving to allow flavors to meld.

Makes 2 large main-dish salads or 4 small side salads