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Saturday, May 05, 2012

Fattoush

Sexy Salad of the Week
Fattoush is a Middle Eastern salad with bread in it. The Italians make Panzanella salad which is similar, but they use baguette and this uses pita. Basically this technique is a great way to use up old bread, and a great way for salad dressing to soak in and make a salad more filling. It's a full meal if you want it to be. There are millions of variations on this concept, so feel free to make it your own. I like this version which I tweaked from Bon Appetit magazine because it uses pomegranate molasses which is really pungent and delicious.

Ingredients for Dressing
4 teaspoons ground sumac, soaked in 4 teaspoons warm water for 15 minutes
3 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons (or more) pomegranate molasses
2 small garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons (or more) rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh mint
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt

Ingredients for Salad
2 8-inch-diameter whole wheat pita breads, halved, toasted until golden brown, broken into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
3 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped, or 4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 pound Persian cucumbers, or one 1-pound English hothouse cucumber, quartered lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
6 scallions, thinly sliced
1 medium head romaine lettuce, trimmed, cut crosswise into 3/4-inch strips
2 cups (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 cup fresh mint leaves
Ground sumac (optional)

Procedure for Dressing
Combine sumac with soaking liquid, 3 Tbsp. lemon juice, 2 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses, garlic, 2 tsp. vinegar, and mint in a small bowl. Gradually add oil, whisking constantly, until well blended. Season with salt; add more lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, and vinegar to taste, if desired. Then set aside.

Procedure for Salad
Place pita pieces in a medium bowl; pour oil over and toss to coat. Season pita to taste with salt.
Mix tomatoes and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add 3/4 of dressing; toss to coat, adding more dressing by tablespoonfuls as needed. Season with salt. Add pita; toss once. Sprinkle sumac over, if desired. Enjoy!