Tuesday, February 10, 2009
There are only two of us at the table most nights. I really like this recipe but it is one that feeds the multitudes so we only have it occasionally. The recipe contains one special ingredient - sumac. Sumac is a bush that grows all over the middle east and in southern Italy. It is available from mail order spice vendors. It's a souring agent like lemon juice, tamarind or vine vinegar but it's less acidic. It is most commonly used as a dry rub for chicken, meat or fish but it can also be added to other dishes near the end of cooking time. Fattoush is a Lebanese bread salad - like a panzanella but made with stale pita instead of Italian bread. This is great as an accompaniment to grilled lamb. There's a lot of chopping but fattoush is easy enough to do. I hope you'll give it a try.
6 small (6-inch) day old pita bread, cut in 1/2-inch squares
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 serrano chili, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon salt + salt to taste
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground sumac
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly cracked black pepper
3 large ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded and cut in 1/4-inch dice
2 scallions, cut in 1/4-inch dice
1 small red onion, cut in 1/4-inch dice
1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded in 1/4-inch dice
1 large English cucumber, seeded and cut in 1/4-inch dice
1 large head Romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place pita on a nonstick baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
2) Place garlic, chili and salt in the bowl of a small food processor. Process until a paste is formed. Transfer to a small bowl. Stir in lemon juice and sumac. Whisk in olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3) Combine tomatoes, scallions, onions, bell peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, parsley, mint and cilantro in a large bowl. Add salad dressinf and toss to coat. Toss in toasted pita and serve immediately. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
Adapted from a recipe created by Andy D'Amico