6.20.2010

Fattoush فتوش (Toasted Bread Salad)


I'm not much of a salad person. I LOVE cucumbers though, and I especially love eating them with tomatoes, mm best combination ever. I don't even use any dressing...guess I'm not much of a dressing person either. The other day, I stumbled upon this recipe in Tess Mallos's book, Middle Eastern Home Cooking. The first thing I saw in the picture beside the recipe was cucumbers...and tomatoes. I looked down the list of ingredients...pita bread..romaine lettuce leaves...young green cucumber...tomatoes...pepper.....wait, PEPPERS? In salad? Nuh uh, this isn't going to work out. Then I saw scallions and I said to myself, this is DEFINITELY not going to work out. I like my salads plain and simple, no peppers and certainly no onions involved.


But for some reason, regardless of all the "khalota", as we Algerians say, I still really wanted to make this salad. And today's picnic was the perfect occasion. 


The preparation took a bit long, as you have to chop up everything into small pieces. But I'd say it was well worth it. I was EXTREMELY pleased with the end result. It's seriously the perfect summer salad. It's light, flavorful, refreshing, and as you all have probably guessed...it's a keeper!

Fattoush

Yield: 6 servings
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Ingredients:  

1 large pita bread
8 romaine lettuce leaves, or 6 leaves of another variety
1 young green cucumber or 1/4 English cucumber
2 medium tomatoes
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
5 scallions (shallots/spring onions), chopped, including tender green tops
6 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley (I didnt have any so I excluded this)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

For the dressing:
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
freshly ground black pepper


Directions: 

Toast pita bread until golden brown. Break into small pieces or cut into small squares using kitchen scissors. (I cut them into squares before toasting, I think it's better this way)

Shred lettuce or break into small pieces. Peel cucumber if desired, quarter lengthwise and cut into chunks. Cut tomatoes into small cubes.

To make dressing, crush garlic in a small bowl with salt and mix to a paste. Add lemon juice, olive oil, and pepper, then beat thoroughly with a fork.

In a salad bowl, combine bread, lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper, scallions, parsley, and mint. Pour on dressing, toss well, and serve.

(Make sure you serve immediately right after combining everything with the dressing because if you don't, the bread will become soggy and the leaves wilted)
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