What to Eat Next
When I think of fattoush salad, it’s always because I’m suddenly craving it, in a climbing-the walls kind of way. Once eating it, I can’t stop – it’s so refreshing, pleasing and clean – and although it’s very enjoyable without any accompaniment, I usually serve it alongside some simply chargrilled lamb chops or chicken livers. The right amount of salt is vital to this salad being a success or disappointment, so add a little more than you normally would.
Sumac, used a lot in Middle Eastern cookery, is a berry that is dried and ground. Although still not widely available in supermarkets in the UK, it is relatively easy to find in Middle Eastern supermarkets and some corner shops. Sumac gives a sour twang similar to hibiscus and, ultimately, lemon. Make the salad with lemon juice if need be, whilst remembering that sumac has its own particular taste and adds prettiness to the salad, being a deep red-purple in colour.
Traditionally this salad would be made with stale rather than fresh pitta bread. Use whatever you have, although there is more gratification in saving things from the bin. Make this salad and serve it straight away.
Like proud sheikhs, once dressed, fattoush does not respond well to being made to wait.
You Will Need
In a small frying pan, gently sauté the pitta pieces in 1 tablespoon of the oil over a medium heat for around 4–5 minutes, turning once, until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper and leave to cool.
In a bowl combine all the salad, vegetables and herbs. Add the cooled pitta pieces.
Dress with the lemon juice, the remaining oil, some sea salt and chilli, then sprinkle with the sumac.
Serve immediately, alone or with some chargrilled lamb seasoned with a little cumin and sea salt.