Monday, February 1, 2010

Fattoush

In college, especially my first 2 years, I wasn't exactly what you'd call a "joiner." I would drive out to school, go to class, maybe the library, and then head home. There was, however, one event that I made sure never to miss: Global Fest. It was a day long celebration of world cultures through the arts and food. Each student organization would plan a demonstration or display and provide a variety of foods. As you might imagine, the food lines went out the door. There was so much food it was incredible. We had tacos and quesadillas from the Spanish Club, quiche, brie, and escargot from the French Club (which I joined later), along with chow meins, fried rice, curry, kabobs, falafel, hummus-you name it. It was my first real exposure to Middle Eastern cuisine, and I have not been able to get enough since. Dan and I would routinely order carry-out after class, and a fattoush salad was almost always part of the order. Now I make it myself from time to time because it's just so easy there is no reason not to. The only special ingredient you may not already have is the sumac, which can be found in specialty markets, some well stocked grocery stores, and online from suppliers or cool little stores like Penzey's.

Fattoush
adapted from an unknown source, and not very exact at that

Salad:
4 c. chopped romaine lettuce, about 1 small head
1 seedless, english cucumber, chopped
2-3 roma or vine ripened tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c. finely chopped parsley
2-4 green onions finely sliced
3/4 to 1 tsp. ground sumac
2 pieces of pita bread - we used whole wheat here
1/2 green pepper, chopped (optional)
Dressing:
3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Break pita bread into small pieces and place on a baking sheet. Bake for about 5 minutes or until lightly toasted and the edges are golden brown.
2. In a large bowl, mix salad ingredients with toasted pita.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over salad and serve immediately.

This recipe makes a conservative amount of dressing. We don't like our salads dripping with dressing. I have even made it with only 2 Tbsp. each of oil and lemon juice. So feel free to scale it up a bit with 1/4 to 1/2 c. of each. This salad is also exceptionally delicious topped with crumbled feta cheese.

2 comments:

karma-dee said...

Is this the salad you get at La Sharm (aka La Shish)? Because that's some darn good salad!

Amy said...

Yep. I miss La Shish, but we found a new place in Livonia called Aladdin. They have a huge menu with all of the traditional dishes along with some newer, more creative items like Pita Pitzas. Plus, they tend to be a bit cheaper.
http://www.aladdinseatery.com/