Fattoush is a chopped salad served ubiquitously through out the Middle East at the beginning of a meal alongside other mezze, and is something that I’ve really come to love. There are approximately a million different variations of the fresh ingredients possible, but a tart dressing of pomegranate molasses and a topping of powdered sumac are defining. The fried croutons of pita bread are an absolutely non-negotiable necessity!
- 4 little gem lettuces – bases removed and separated into individual leaves
- 150g mixed salad of baby leaves (including, for instance, baby spinach, beet leaves, some rocket, or any other mix that you like)
- Small bunch of mint – leaves picked
- Handful of fresh radishes – finely sliced
- 200g cherry tomatoes – cut into quarters
- 1 small cucumber – diced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
- 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pita bread
- Oil for deep frying (i.e. canola or sunflower oil)
- 1 tablespoon of sumac
- Handful of pomegranate seeds – optional (to garnish)
Start by heating the deep-frying oil on a medium setting in a small saucepan, taking care that the oil does not come more than halfway up the sides of the saucepan.
Make croutons from your slice of pita bread by cutting first into strips, and then cutting crossways to form rectangles of approximately 2cm x 1cm. If your pita bread is quite thick, once cut it may be easily possible to peel each rectangle apart into two thinner slices. If so, peel these apart, allowing for a thinner, and hence crispier crouton!
Deep fry in batches, allowing the pita croutons to turn golden in colour (approx. 2 minutes frying at medium heat), before removing to drain on paper towel, and setting aside to use later.
To make the fattoush dressing, combine the olive oil, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, and red wine vinegar, as well as some salt and pepper, and stir or shake to combine.
In a large bowl, begin to assemble the salad by combining the little gem leaves, mixed leaves, mint leaves, finely sliced radishes, quartered tomatoes and diced cucumber.
Pour over the dressing you have just prepared, adding less or more, according to your own preferences. Mix the dressing right through the salad, before removing to a clean serving platter or bowl.
Scatter the fried pita croutons across the top of your salad, along with a handful of pomegranate seeds if you wish. Finish the dish by adding a fine dusting of red sumac over everything, and serve alongside the baba ganoush and mansaf.