Fattoush Salad

Fattoush is a Middle Eastern salad made with fresh garden vegetables and toasted bread.  It’s similar in concept to the Italian bread salad, panzanella, a traditional rustic recipe using day-old bread tossed with salad and “refreshed” with dressing.  Fattoush has a significant Middle Eastern influence, with the addition of sumac which gives the salad its characteristically sour flavor, as well as feta cheese, kalamata olives, parsley, coriander, and mint.

Fattoush Salad

Toasted pita bread adds an addictive crunch to this salad. When the grill is going, I like to grill the pita for extra flavor. Serves 4-6 as a light main course or 6-8 side salads.

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
2 cups arugula leaves
1 head romaine lettuce, washed
1 small bunch (about 1/2 cup) Italian parlsey leaves
1 small bunch (about 1/2 cup) fresh cilantro/coriander leaves
1 small bunch (about 1/2 cup) fresh mint leaves
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
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.

Prepare salad:
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 crispy and golden. Remove from heat and cool.  Break into pieces.
Toss two-thirds of the pita 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.  Serve garnished with extra feta.

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