You may be wondering why I have put 'MY WAY' in capital letters ... that's because my YouTube clip of this recipe has created quite a stir over the years. It is not authentic to put carrots or celery in fattoush, nor spices, but most everyone who tries it this way, loves it.
1 small red onion, peeled and sliced
2 large pita breads
3 Tbsp olive oil
½ telegraph cucumber, peeled and chopped, or 2 Lebanese cucumbers, (short slim cucumbers) chopped
2 radishes, trimmed and sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced
1 white stick celery, well washed and sliced
1 small cos (romaine) lettuce (120g/4 ounces cos/romaine leaves), washed, dried and torn into bite-sized pieces
2 Tbsp each chopped mint and flat-leaf parsley
12 ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sumac
5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp allspice
1 Soak red onion in icy cold water for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
2 Split pita breads open and brush both sides with oil. Put them on a tray and bake in an oven preheated to 180°C (350°F) for 5-7 minutes, or until golden.
3 Put red onion in a large bowl with cucumber, radishes, carrot, celery, cos lettuce, herbs and tomatoes.
4 To make the dressing, put all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix together. Pour over salad and toss thoroughly. Break pita bread into bite-sized pieces and add to salad. Toss lightly. If liked, sprinkle with more sumac. Serve immediately.
A coarse powder made from the ripe, reddish-brown berries of the sumac shrub, sumac brings a refreshing note to many Middle Eastern dishes. The lemony taste and mild astringency works well with roasted or grilled chicken, meat or fish. It’s also good sprinkled over tomatoes drizzled with a little oil before baking, or stirred into yoghurt to accompany meat dishes. Store airtight out of the light.
Bread is a great addition to a salad, especially if it’s crunchy. It may not be authentic to toast the bread for this Lebanese salad, but it tastes so much nicer! And pita bread? Use thinly sliced pide if you prefer.
If you treat the salad as just a salad, without getting hung up on the name (call it something else), then you can extend it by adding tuna (canned, or fresh, barbecued) or barbecued fish or chicken fillets.
Photography Aaron McLean http://www.aaronmclean.com
Here’s some of the mailbag from YouTube. Although it’s not available for play in New Zealand, it has had 55,882 views with 19 giving it the thumbs down. You gotta laugh …
‘No celery, no carrots in fattoush and I use Grenadine molasses.’ One wonders why!
‘No lettuce, always rocket.’
‘No carrots, celery or spice and DON’T brush pita with oil.’ Whoa!
‘We always use green pepper (capsicum)’
‘This is not authentic.’
‘This is not fattoush!’
Then, some sticking up for me (how nice!)
‘She’s not British, she is a Kiwi! LOL and a wonderful cook at that and this recipe certainly has a Kiwi twist to it, looks delish!’
‘She is the best presentation among all fattoush receipt videos, very good.’
‘It’s not the traditional fatoosh but good job :)-‘
‘Love the way you make it.’
Check out the YouTube clip here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38N3psUuubs