A showcase salad if ever there was one. Fattoush has it all – crunch (raddish, cucumber & crispy fried bread) green leaves (salad leaves, parsley & mint) and juice (tomatoes & a pomegranate molasses dressing). A tablespoon of sumac provides a citrus kick which can help make up for lack lustre tomatoes. Zejd’s sumac raises some eyebrows in the market when people compare it with what they have in their kitchen cupboard. This is the real thing.
Barbara Massaad has kindly allowed us to reproduce the recipe from her cookbook Mezze. In Lebanon fattoush is traditionally made with whatever seasonal produce is available. So please don’t feel the need to stick rigidly to the recipe. We haven’t listed it here, but in Lebanon pale green purslane leaves, which have a slightly earthy taste, are used in fattoush. If you come across them in a Kurdish, Turkish or “Middle Eastern” shop, they’re worth buying. Peppery rocket leaves work well too.
The dressing is luxuriously tangy and one to remember for other salads. For those anxious about the garlic, feel free to leave it out, but it isn’t a strong presence once combined with all the ingredients. The pomegranate molasses and extra virgin olive oil emulsify with the lemon to create a wonderfully tangy dressing.
The crunchy topping is a great way to use up leftover bread, it doesn’t have to be flat bread. You can either fry pieces of bread, crouton-sized in the extra virgin olive oil or if you have flat bread, toast it briefly under a grill or bake it in the oven. Add this once you’ve tossed the salad, and serve immediately, so that the bread stays crispy.
serves 4 – 6
1 little gem lettuce, leaves torn
a handful of flat leaf parsley, leaves roughly sliced
a handful of mint leaves, torn
1/2 large cucumber, seeded (or better still 3 small cucumbers) roughly chopped
200g cherry tomatoes, (or the tastiest tomatoes you can find), halved
5-6 radishes, sliced (if the leaves are in good shape use those too)
3 spring onions, roughly sliced
100g rocket or interesting salad leaves
1 tbsp Zejd’s sumac
1 flat bread, pitta or slice of bread, roughly torn into small pieces
1 tbsp Zejd extra virgin olive oil to fry
- In a large salad bowl, add the torn lettuce leaves, parsley, mint, rocket and other salad leaves. Then add the tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers and spring onions.
- In a small frying pan, add the tablespoon of EVOO and once warm add the bread. Cook over a medium heat until beautifully golden. Scatter with salt and set aside on a piece of kitchen paper.
- In a small bowl, add the crushed garlic (if using) and the lemon juice, pomegranate molasses and a pinch of salt. Whisk well, then add the extra virgin olive oil and keep whisking until the dressing is well blended. Taste, and add more salt and lemon if needed.
- Scatter the sumac over the salad, add the dressing and toss well, coating all of the ingredients. Just before bringing to the table, add the toasted bread on top, and serve before the bread goes soggy.
Delicious as part of a Lebanese feast with dishes of humous, grilled halloumi and labneh. Equally good to accompany chicken baked with lemon, za’atar and sumac.