This post is three months overdue. What can I say? I developed the recipe, and then summer happened. Once summer rises from the ashes of Georgia’s obnoxiously bipolar winter / spring, I pretend I have three months of freedom and neglect every single adult-y task until fun gives way to utter panic. Somehow I’m still employed.
It’s been an intoxicating season of sun, “work”, travel, food, some reading (the only way I know I’m not brain dead), swimming, moving house, and partying. Maybe too much party. Though my relationship with my liver and brain may border on negligence, my relationship with my stomach is a more benevolent one*. Summer has me salivating for fresh stuff constantly (!!!), especially after tubing down a river for six hours in Hot Springs, NC or hiking up Lembert Dome in Yosemite, and it’s easy to eat well with so many veggies in season. But I’m also always salivating for bread, because it is half of my existence and my one true love. Luckily I have found a compromise, and its name is fattoush. Fattoush enjoys long walks on the beach and romantic dinners, and can usually be found sporting fresh veggies, crunchy pita, and herbs drenched in a tangy olive oil dressing; it puts other middle eastern salads to shame.
This recipe has many pros, and one of them is that it requires minimal use of a heat source, so your pit stains won’t get out of control in the already sweltering August heat. The irritating part of this recipe is the prep. I suggest you blast some Blink-182 and belt out your best Tom DeLonge voice while chopping all the ingredients in one go. Then you’ll have a week’s worth of salad on deck and enough teenage nostalgia to play “Stay Together for the Kids” on repeat while your neighbors question how a 15-year-old circa 2002 managed to move into apartment 2.
*For the purposes of this analogy, forget anatomy. We’ll pretend booze bypasses the stomach.
- 2 large pita
- 2 c romaine lettuce, chopped
- 2 c cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 c persian cucumber, diced
- 1 c flat parsley, roughly chopped and loosely packed
- ½ c fresh mint, julienned
- 3 scallions
- 1 green bell pepper
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 6 tbs lemon juice
- 3 tbs pomegranate syrup
- 4 tsp ground sumac
- 3 garlic cloves
- Salt / pepper to taste
Dressing: mince or press the garlic. Then whisk all the ingredients together.
Salad: Pre-heat oven to 400°. Quarter the pita and let it brown in the oven for 15-20 minutes, flipping once in the middle. It should be browned and crunchy, but not burned. Break into small(ish) pieces with your hand or a knife.
Stack leaves of romaine, cut vertically down the stalk, then finely chop. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Dice the bell pepper and cucumber. Take as much stem off the parsley as you can and then roughly chop. Thinly slice the scallions. Julienne the mint. SO MUCH CHOPPING I KNOW. Then throw everything in a big bowl. Throw in 1/3 cup of pita chips for every serving.
Drizzle the desired amount of dressing (I use 1-2 tbs per salad serving) and toss. Sprinkle a few extra pita chips on top along with a light drizzle of sumac and pomegranate syrup (optional). Dig in, and welcome to the magical world where salad meets bread. Dreams really do come true.
Notes & Tips
- Where can you find ground sumac? And pomegranate syrup? I’ve come across sumac at most grocery stores, and if you have a good farmer’s market like Atlanta does you can get a sizable container for a mere .67 cents. Same with pomegranate syrup; you can usually find it in the international section of a grocery store for about $4. Don’t skip these ingredients. They are integral to the recipe.
- Use olive oil. Good olive oil. Extra-virgin, cold pressed, kissed by a cherub and blessed type stuff. None of than “olive oil blend” or other questionable bottles of cheap sludge. God forbid you use canola or vegetable oil, you nasty little heathen.
- Ingredients you can substitute: other types of tomato, cucumber, and lettuce. I find persian cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and romaine lends the best flavor and crunch factor, but to each his/her own.
***Originally posted 8/2015***