~ Fattoush Salad ~
I don’t know about you, but I think I ate a month’s worth of meat over the weekend. With July 4th falling nicely on a Monday, it meant a 3 day weekend was entirely devoted to barbecues. Our house, friends’ houses, the beach: all locations involved a fire and platters of smoked and grilled ribs, steak, chicken, salmon. Now it’s time for a little break. To begin this short week, I will invoke a brief barbecue time-out. Dinner tonight will be light, fresh and vegetarian – a Fattoush salad.
Fattoush is a Middle Eastern garden salad with pita bread. Day old pita is toasted, crumbled and tossed with greens in a vinaigrette, adding texture and substance to the salad, while the dressing softens the bread. Extra Mediterranean ingredients, such as olives, feta, mint and sumac (a dried Middle Eastern spice with tart lemony notes) make this salad special and addictively good. When the weather is warm, this is a perfect easy meal and a nice break from the grill – at least for a day.
For the vinaigrette:
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dried cumin seed
1/4 teaspoon dried sumac
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the salad:
2 large pita breads
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups arugula leaves
1 head romaine lettuce, washed, leaves torn in pieces
1 small bunch Italian parlsey leaves
1 small bunch fresh cilantro leaves
1 small bunch fresh mint leaves
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 English cucumber, quartered lengthwise, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup kalamata olives
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, plus extra for garnish
Prepare the vinaigrette:
Mix all of the ingredients, except the olive oil, together in a small bowl. Whisk in olive oil in a steady stream until emulsified.
Preheat oven broiler. Brush pita bread with olive oil. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Cut each pita circle in 6 triangles. Toast in oven, turning once, until crisp and light golden. Remove from heat and cool. Break into pieces.
Toss the pita pieces with the arugula, romaine, parsley, cilantro and mint in a large bowl. Scatter the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, olives and feta over the salad. Drizzle with half of the dressing and toss to combine. Add additional vinaigrette to taste and toss again. Serve garnished with extra feta.