Middle-Eastern Chopped Salad
- Servings: 4.
Fattoush is a salad that originated in Middle Eastern cuisines, notably those of Lebanon and Syria. It combines pieces of Romaine lettuce with chopped crunchy vegetables, tomatoes, mint, pieces of toasted pita bread and tangy lemon vinaigrette. From cuisine to cuisine there are variations in the ingredients and flavors: some include purslane, some substitute scallion for the red onion, others fry the pita bread first, and others, as in our recipe here, include sumac in the dressing.
You can experiment with what you like best but this recipe will give you a place to start. For those who like to bring your lunch to work and want to include a salad, this is a great choice because it travels well either already dressed or keeping the vinaigrette on the side until you're ready to have lunch. This salad is a perfect companion to pieces of grilled chicken, cooked shrimp or chunks of canned or fresh tuna.
- 1 head Romaine lettuce
- 1 medium cucumber (either regular or seedless English cucumber)
- 2 large tomatoes
- 1 red or yellow pepper
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh mint, coarsely chopped
- 4 small or 2 large pita rounds, either white or whole wheat
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sumac
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or Aleppo pepper
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Wash and completely dry the Romaine leaves and tear into bite-sized pieces.
- Peel and dice the cucumber.
- Dice the tomatoes. If these are locally grown and have a thicker skin, peel the tomatoes first.
- Rinse, seed and dice the pepper.
- In a large bowl, combine the Romaine, diced cucumber, tomato, red onion and pepper. Add the chopped parsley and fresh mint. Toss to combine.
- Split the pita loaves in half and using either a toaster or your oven's broiler, toast the pieces until light brown and crispy. When cool enough to handle, break into bite-sized pieces and add to the chopped salad.
- To make the dressing -- in a food processor or in a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, sumac, salt and pepper and combine completely until the salt dissolves.
- In a slow stream add the olive oil and mix until emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings. Pour immediately over the salad and toss to combine.
- Serve immediately.
If you're making this to serve later or to take to work for lunch, hold the dressing off on the side and add to the salad just before serving; otherwise the bread will get soggy.