Bring a salad from the Middle East to the Sierra
April 22, 2012
As spring begins to arrive, I start to pull out all my favorite salad recipes, so I figured this would be a great opportunity to share my favorite salad.
The Fattoush salad, is a Middle Eastern version of the Italian panzanella salad. Pieces of stale bread or toasted pita tossed in salad to replace croutons, and soak up extra moisture and flavors from the dressing. Pretty simple and versatile, you can use any herbs you like, the type of lettuce you like and any fresh vegetables you like.
I found a recipe on the Joy of Cooking website for a Fattoush salad and have since made a couple additions.
Reading through the recipe at first I thought it sounded weird, I mean cilantro and mint together, I would have never thought. But then it contained so many things I love in my salads, avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, and I loved the idea of pita chips in my salad in place of croutons.
Then I was completely sold with the lemon dressing. Put simple lemon juice and olive oil on my salads in place of dressing and I am happy, so this garlicky lemon dressing was perfect. This salad is so fresh, light, crisp, crunchy and healthy to top it off, so many great things combined.
You can serve this salad with a prime rib dinner (I did at Christmas) or add grilled steak, chicken or fish to make it a meal. Serve it as a side salad to any meal, on its own as lunch, with a sandwich or soup.
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You can use pita chips or croutons in this salad, the pita chips being the traditional ingredient. But change it up, and make some lavash crackers. Lavash is a Middle Eastern flat bread, it is thin and flat – thinner than a tortilla, but the texture reminds me more of naan bread (yet another good bread you could use).
You can find lavash bread at Trader Joes, and you can get naan at Savemart or Raleys. Making Lavash or pita chips on your own is pretty easy I have provided instructions below.
Speaking of this fresh veggie filled salad, I start to get excited about the soon to start Farmer’s Market. The market is one of my favorite things of the summer; it is a ritual in my house, a social event as well. So I’m excited to see everyone out there again. My friend Linda has mentioned there will be an early spring farmer’s market this year, beginning May 5 at the Greenhouse Garden Center. Hope to see you all there.
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 container cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
6 scallions, finely chopped
(1 small red, orange or green bell pepper, diced)
2/3 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
Salt and pepper
1 small avocado diced
Pita, lavash or naan chips
Except for the avocado and pita chips, prepare ingredients as indicated (chop, dice, tear) and place in a salad serving bowl.
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon finely chopped mint.
Whisk lemon juice, crushed garlic, mint, salt and pepper. While whisking, add olive oil slowly in a continuous stream until the dressing is emulsified. (You can also do this in a blender, food processor, or just put all the ingredients in a mason jar and shake it up real good).
Toss 1/2 of dressing in with the salad and toss well! Serve remaining dressing on side so you can add more if needed. Top each serving with a couple lavash or pita chips.
Take Lavash bread, rub both sides of the bread with some good olive oil, cut the bread into small wedges and sprinkle with some herbs de provence and coarse sea salt. (You can use whatever other herbs you may like or just simple salt and pepper).
Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. Careful this bread dries out fast and you don’t want to burn it.
* Amanda Skiba is passionate about
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