Pita Crouton Salad with Sumak Dressing

Fattoush (fettoush)

banner

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    6

    (About 2 quarts )

Appears in

I believe it is the variety of vegetables and the shape and size of how each vegetable is cut combined with the dressing that make this salad so popular. It can be offered with a variety of entrees made with lamb, beef, poultry, or seafood. You can even add grilled chicken or shrimp to the salad, and it becomes a meal of its own.

Ingredients

Specialty Ingredients

  • Sumak, found at specialty markets or online.

For the Pita Croutons

  • 1 large pita bread (about 10 inches diameter)
  • or: 2 medium pita breads (about 6 inches diameter)
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sumak

For the Salad

  • 2 cups (lightly packed) sliced romaine lettuce
  • cups tomato (cut into wedges, slice each wedge into ½-inch triangles); use firm red tomatoes
  • ¾ cup cucumber (quartered lengthwise, cut quarters into ¼ inch pieces)
  • ½ cup radish (cut in half—tip to tail, sliced inch half rounds)
  • cup diced green bell pepper (½ inch)
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped green onion; use light and dark parts
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves or 1 teaspoon dried mint flakes
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley; use the green leafy parts and tender stems

For the Dressing

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons sumak

Method

Prepare Ahead

You can prepare the croutons in advance and store them in an airtight container for days. For freshest vegetables, rinse and store them ahead of time. The salad can be prepared 1 day in advance. Serve as directed.

To Prepare the Pita Croutons

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut the pitas into 1 × 1-inch squares. Evenly spread the pitas over a foil-lined baking sheet and toast in the center of the oven, shaking the pan periodically for 15 to 18 minutes or until they are evenly golden brown. (Test a couple to make sure they are crisp all the way through, keeping in mind that different brands of pita vary in thickness; therefore the baking time can vary as well.)

Once crisp, remove the pita squares from the oven. Transfer them to a container and add the olive oil and sumak. Mix well to coat the croutons with the mixture. Cool completely before storing. Store them covered at room temperature until needed. (If stored croutons seem stale a day later, that means they did not toast long enough in the oven.)

To Prepare the Salad

Make certain all the vegetables have been rinsed well and are dry from excess moisture before you begin. Refrigerate the rinsed vegetables overnight if you can (see “Rinsing and Storing Produce). Cut larger romaine leaves in half lengthwise along the rib; then slice widthwise into ¼-inch strips.

Place the tomato stem-side up and cut the tomato in half. Cut each half into 3 wedges (4 wedges for larger tomatoes). Slice each wedge widthwise into pieces ½ inch thick (the pieces will resemble triangles).

Peel the cucumber lengthwise, removing every other strip of skin for a striped appearance; then quarter lengthwise. Slice the quarters widthwise into ¼-inch pieces.

Cut each radish in half from tip to tail. Cut each half into -inch-thick half rounds.

Prepare the remaining vegetables as described above and mix together. Cover and refrigerate the salad for at least 2 hours or overnight prior to serving.

To Serve

Toss the salad with the sumak croutons and dressing just before serving.

Variations

Red Onion

Add ½ cup thinly sliced red onion to the ingredients (my mother loves it this way).

Purslane

Add about 1 cup purslane (known as bakli in Arabic), available in summer months when you can find it at specialty markets or farmers’ markets. Use the succulent leaves and tender tips.

Grilled Chicken or Shrimp

Add 3 cups chilled grilled chicken or grilled shrimp to the salad. Adjust the dressing to taste.

Loading
Loading
Loading