Fattoush Salad

 Fattoush Salad

Fattoush Salad

Fattoush is one of my favourite Middle Eastern dishes. Tangy, refreshing and satisfyingly crunchy!

Fattoush is traditionally made with purslane, a leafy green which is actually the highest plant source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Purslane can be pretty hard to find at the greengrocer. You won't find it at all at the supermarket, but you might find it at your local farmers market. But the great news is that it is crazy-easy to grow. In fact it grows so vigorously it is classified as a weed and can be found growing in the cracks of most sidewalks in late Summer and early Autumn. I used to wage war agains the purslane that incessantly popped up in my veggie garden, but that was before I learned how healthy and delicious purslane is! These days I welcome it, and relish how prolific it is!

Fattoush also features the divine spice Sumac. It's one of those flavours that is hard to describe. Sort of tart and tangy. Utterly delicious. If you are new to sumac and start experimenting with it, you may find yourself adding it to EVERYTHING. Or maybe that's just me...

Another traditional ingredient of Fattoush is deep fried Lebanese bread, which is broken up and served on top of the salad. Some choose to make it healthier by brushing the Lebanese bread with olive oil and baking it in the oven. That works fine, but I actually prefer to make my own crunchy bits, using besan (chickpea) flour - see below!

Ingredients

Salad

Lebanese cucumber, diced
Cherry tomatoes, 1 punnet (200-250g), halved
1-2 generous handfuls of purslane, woody stalks removed and chopped finely (don't worry if you can't find purslane. Most people can't find it and the salad turns out fine without it)
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped (discard stems)
1 bunch mint leaves, finely chopped (discard stalks)
Red capsicum (bell pepper) de-seeded and diced
4-5 red radishes, finely sliced or diced
3-4 green onions, finely chopped
1 small red onion, diced (optional)
Pomegranate seeds (optional)

Lemony Sumac Dressing

Juice of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon Sumac
2 teapoons pomegranate molases
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Crunchy bits

You will need 2 baking sheets and 2 pieces of baking paper
4 tablespoons besan (chickpea) flour
1 teaspoon salt
Water
As noted above, you can brush Lebanese bread with olive oil and bake in the oven (180 degrees) until it is toasted and crumbles, but once you try my chickpea crackers you will never use storebought Lebanese bread again!

Method

Crunchy bits

You can either toast up a piece of Lebanese Bread or make your own utterly addictive crunchy bits. If you choose to make your own, you may want to make two batches. My first batch always seems to be devoured while still hot!

Place besan flour, salt and 1/4 cup water in a bowl and whisk until smooth. It should be the consistency of a thick pancake batter.
Divide the mixture between the two baking trays and spread out with a spoon or spatula.
Place in a pre-heated oven (180 degrees celsius) and bake for 15 minutes or until golden and crispy.
Remove trays from oven. You will now have one big cracker on each baking tray. Peel the baking paper off each cracker, break them up into small pieces and place in a bowl.
OR
Brush 1 piece of Lebanese flatbread with olive oil.
Bake (180 degrees celsius) or grill until crispy, break up into small pieces and place in a bowl.

Dressing

Place all ingredients in a bowl or jar.
Whisk or shake to combine.

Salad

Place all ingredients in a bowl. Add dressing and toss to combine.
Top with crispy bits, sprinkle with extra sumac and enjoy!