The first time I was introduced to fattoush, I was taken aback. It’s a punchy salad, with strong herbs, lots of crunch and not a shy hint of garlic. But in the mix* with powerful hummous, falafel loaded with pickled radishes and spice, it can stand up. Even on it’s own it fantastic and one of the more satisfying salads since each bite delivers so much taste and texture.
There are two things that set it apart from similar salads. First, the flavour of sumac, a ground spice that has a bit of a lemony kick, and second, the torn, toasted pita bread. This is a Lebanese bread salad, really, and I like the texture of toasted pita even better than more traditional croutons–because they’re actually bread-y. They are crisp at first and start to soften and really soak up the flavour of the salad quicker.
I read a tip that said that the dressing for fattoush should be mostly tart and that the oil should only be added when serving. I love the way this salad turns out when I follow that advice so I recommend the same. You can mellow it out by adding a little more oil if you wish, or, if you’re a brave soul, add more garlic–it’s fantastic especially garlicy. My use of yellow banana peppers, which are hot, is probably not authentic. I just can’t help but choose a spicy pepper over a bell pepper, even if I’m risking blasphemy. I know. More garlic, more heat! But this salad can take it.
*(See how this recipe fits into a Lebanese lunch menu!)
I read a tip that said that the dressing for fattoush should be mostly tart and that the oil should be added when serving. I love the way this salad turns out when I follow that advice so I recommend the same. Chop the herbs and dress the salad close to serving to keep everything as fresh as possible.< 1 large head romaine lettuce 1 large handful parsley leaves 1 large handful mint leaves 1 yellow banana pepper, deseeded and sliced, or use a bell pepper for a non-spicy option 1/4 English cucumber, diced 2 scallions, finely chopped 3 or 4 red radishes, halved and sliced 1 large roma tomato, diced Juice of 1 lemon 1 small garlic clove, minced 1 tsp ground sumac Kosher salt, to taste Ground black pepper, to taste 2 pitas, toasted, broken into large pieces 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil, or more for serving< Tear lettuce into large but manageable pieces and add to a large bowl. Remove and discard stems of parsley and mint. Roughly chop parsley and shred mint, trying to cut sharply with one pass of the knife so you don't bruise the leaves. Add chopped herbs, pepper, cucumber, scallions, radishes and tomatoes to the bowl. Whisk lemon, garlic, sumac, salt and pepper and let it sit for a few minutes to let the flavours come together. Taste and adjust as needed--it will be tart but it should also be flavourful. When ready to serve, pour the lemon dressing over the salad, and toss well, then mix in the toasted pita pieces. Transfer to serving platter or bowl and drizzle the oil over top, or pass the oil around for people to add to their serving of their salad as they wish. Serves 4-6.