Middle Eastern house salad

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Posted by Antonio Tahhan

Sorry this is a day late. I was in Seattle for most of last week for the Web Design World conference and then spent time with my parents who came to visit me for the weekend. Seattle was beautiful and I cannot wait to show you pictures, but first, there's a salad I've been meaning to write about - it's called fattoush (فتوش).



It seems like the market for Middle Eastern salads outside of the Middle East is disproportionally dominated by tabbouleh, a salad, that when made right, combines ultra-finely chopped parsley with tiny pearls of fine-ground bulger wheat and other finely chopped vegetables. Fattoush is quite the opposite, at least when it comes to preparation - it can be thrown together in a matter of minutes, in a very rustic and hearty way that's all about flavor rather than embellishments. Tabbouleh is delicious though, don't get me wrong. Sometimes, however, I just want a quick and tasty, no-frill salad, and for moments like these I make fattoush.



The mise en place can be overwhelming, but in one trip to the farmer's market you can have all these vegetables laid out on your table, too. The most exotic ingredient here is probably the sumac, which is a lemony, sour spice that can be found in most specialty markets these days and certainly any Mediterranean market you know of. If you like cooking Middle Eastern dishes, this is a spice that you should always have on hand.



This is the part where some people might disagree: the bread. Probably the best (and most traditional) way you can prepare the bread for fattoush is by pan-frying the triangles in extra virgin olive oil, but that takes a long time and makes a mess of my stovetop. I prefer to toss the triangles in olive oil, sprinkle some sumac on the bread (something my grandmother taught me), and throw the whole tray into the oven/broiler, on high.



The dressing for this salad is equally simple, as promised. It's a combination of olive oil and lemon juice, with a sprinkle of salt and sumac - that's it. You can add dried mint to the dressing like I did, but that's completely up to you.



Click here to view or print the recipe.






This post was written by Tony



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6 comments:

great salad, and great photos - I love how you set up the display of ingredients!

Foodfreak said...
July 30, 2009 at 3:25:00 PM GMT+2  

OMG, this looks so yum!! I'm stuffed from dinner and yet I was drooling while reading ur post. Going on my to do list asap! Thanks

priya said...
August 3, 2009 at 7:48:00 AM GMT+2  

Your photos are making me hungry! Thanks for sharing this. By the way, there's a new social networking site dedicated to parents and kids, it's called Bluepixo.com - it's a place for Moms, Dads, and Kids! Now, there’s even a chance to win a free iPod Nano!. It would be so nice of you to join our parents’ forums and polls. Thanks a lot and have a great day!

Jane said...
August 6, 2009 at 8:37:00 AM GMT+2  

I love fattoush! I like to add freshly ground black pepper to the dressing. I love your idea of sprinkling sumac and olive oil on the bread and putting it under the broiler! I cheat by adding pita chips. :-D

Manisha said...
August 11, 2009 at 11:21:00 PM GMT+2  

Oooh yum. Finally a destination for my big bag of sumac! Love the freshness & moreish beauty of this salad!

August 17, 2009 at 2:08:00 PM GMT+2  

Because of this blog & this recipe, I decided to step into this Middle Eastern shop about 3 blocks from where I work, as I figured I would see if they had the sumac powder. They did, plus some glorious freshly made bread I used for the salad, paratha bread I've only been able to find in Buffalo, and so many other lovely things. The shopkeepers are lovely people from Iran, and they are wonderful. Thanks for giving me a reason to discover this hidden gem...:)

Anonymous said...
August 23, 2009 at 3:16:00 AM GMT+2  

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