While Tabbouleh is probably the most famous Middle Eastern salad my top favorite salad is Fattoush! Yes, I also love Tabbouleh but if I were to pick one Tabbouleh or Fattoush, Fattoush is the winner. I love Fattoush so much that I chose it as the name for my Arabic food blog www.fattoush.me.
There are several versions of Fattoush, and all are right as this dish is very adaptable to personal taste. It is a mixture of different coarsely chopped vegetables, fresh herbs and bread. Essential features of the Fattoush salad is the crisp toasted or fried pita bread, the sumac and the purslane.
Purslane, known in Arabic as Baqleh (بقلة), is a weed/herb (see picture below). Purslane leaves are used in salads throughout the Middle East. In other countries such as Greece and Turkey the leaves are also sometime cooked in dishes similar to spinach. Purslane is very nutritious, besides being loaded with vitamins and minerals it contains more healthy omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy plant.
Sumac pronounced soo-mak, is a popular Middle Eastern seasoning that is made out of the dried fruit of a shrub that grows throughout our region. It has a tart flavor and in the old times before lemons were available sumac was used to add the tangy lemon flavor to meat and salad dishes.
For my Fattoush salad dressing, I use Pomegranate Molasses (دبس الرمان), a thick dark brown liquid made from pomegranate juice. Pomegranate molasses is very popular in Arabic cuisine and is used to season meat and chicken, to prepare salad dressings and sweets. It has a tangy flavor that is both tart and sweet at the same time. Not all fattoush salad recipes use pomegranate molasses for the fattoush dressing, and even when you have the salad in restaurants you’ll find some use it and some don’t. As I prefer the salad with the molasses dressing more, I decide to post this version before I post the one sans molasses.
Fattoush Salad Recipe
Preparation time: 20 min
2 medium sized pita breads
½ romaine lettuce (about 8 medium sized leaves)
2 cups pruslane leaves
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
3 large tomatoes
4 cucumbers (Middle Eastern cucumbers are small, if using the large variety one is enough)
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 medium sweet onion
4 medium radishes
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1½ teaspoon salt
½ cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon vinegar (cider, apple, grape…)
¼ cup pomegranate molasses
1½ tablespoon sumac
How to make Fattoush Salad:
- Cut the pita bread into small pieces. Heat oil in a pan and fry the bread until golden. Remove from pan onto a plate covered with several paper kitchen towels. Leave the bread for a few hour to cool and for the excess oil to drain. A healthier alternative it to toast the pita bread pieces in the oven but the taste is compromised a bit this way.
- Remove the outer leaves of the romaine lettuce. Wash and pat dry half of the leaves, about 8-10 leaves. Coarsely chop and place in the salad bowl.
- Wash the pruslane, remove the leaves from the stem and pat dry. You will need about 2 cups of leaves for the salad, that is about 200 grams. Place the leaves, without chopping, in the salad bowl.
- Wash and mint, remove the leaves from the stem and pat dry. You will need about 1/3 cup of mint leaves for the salad. Chop the mint leaves and add to the salad bowl.
- Coarsely chop the tomatoes, cucumbers, red and green bell peppers, onion, and radishes. Add to the salad bowl.
- To prepare the dressing whisk the garlic, salt, oil, lemon juice, vinegar and pomegranate molasses.
- Pour the dressing onto the chopped salad and mix well. Then add the sumac and fried or toasted bread and mix. We add the bread at the end after we mix the leaves and vegetables with the dressing so that we don’t end up with soggy bread.
Hope you enjoyed today’s easy salad recipe: Fattoush; a traditional Middle Eastern salad.Bon appetite.
Have you ever tried Fattoush Salad? Do you prefer it more with molasses dressing or with the lemon-oil dressing?
اضغط الرابط لقراءة وصفة سلطة الفتوش باللغة العربية