Heavy on herbs, the ripeness of summer and the tang of sumac.
2 large pita bread (stale is good)
3 large ripe tomatoes
2-3 small cucumbers
½ bunch radish
½-1 cup grapes, sliced in half
½-1 cup purslane or firm lettuce
2 spring onions
½ bunch mint
½ bunch parsley
1 tbsp sumac, ground
1 lemon, juiced
60 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
salt and freshly cracked pepper
A fattoush is heavy on herbs, the ripeness of summer and the tang of lemony sumac. Juicy grapes add an extra sweet bite, which might otherwise come from a drizzle of pomegranate molasses. Really, you could use all sorts of vegetables, but how can you go past the combination of ripe tomatoes, cucumbers and radish.
Purslane (Portulaca oleracea), a mildly succulent and nutritious ‘weed’ growing plentifully throughout summer, is often in a Lebanese fattoush. Forage or harvest your own to use here – add some torn lettuce leaves in its absence, or just the herbs.
Open the pita leaves with your hands and gently bake the 4 single leaves on the oven rack until crisp. Some folks recommend drizzling oil and sometimes extra sumac on the pita, but I don’t tend to bother as it absorbs the dressing soon enough.
Wash and slice the vegetables and grapes, and add these to the roughly chopped / ripped the herbs. Combine in a bowl and dress with the vinaigrette and a generous sprinkling of the sumac. Break the crisp pita over the salad just before serving, gently mix and serve.
Alternatively, leftover or stale sourdough makes great croutons if ripped and gently fried in a pan with a little olive oil. This salad is excellent with falafel or grilled meat.