Purslane and pita salad (Fattoosh)

Fattoosh salad

Fattoosh is as ubiquitous on a Lebanese table as Tabbooleh. It is prepared with fresh ba’leh or purslane, tomatoes, green onions, mint, sumak, and also leftover pita bread. Now you may be wondering about purslane. Purslane can be found in organic groceries labeled as mache, and, trust me, you will pay for that adorable French name. I prefer to acquire it either in middle-eastern groceries or at my Mexican store here in Dallas. The Spanish name for it is verdolaga. I was reading Paula Wolfert’s book and found out that the simple and humble purslane that is eaten just about every day in Beirut and all over Lebanon is actually an incredibly nutritious plant, full of  omega-3 among others. Further research on the internet revealed that it is actually a weed, can grow anywhere, and the US Department of agriculture wants people to cultivate it and consume it on a regular basis because it is so good for you! The other “exotic” ingredient is sumak, which is a spice that is absolutely necessary for an authentic fattoosh. Any middle-eastern grocer will carry it or you can order through www.buylebanese.com

Sumak

Sumak

Purslane, Mache, Verdolaga

Purslane, Mache, Verdolaga

INGREDIENTS:

1 or 2 bunches of purslane, mache, or verdolaga, washed in icy water, dried, leaves collected and stems discarded.

1 bunch of parsley (optional)

1 bunch of fresh mint (optional) or 1 Tablespoon of dried mint, crumbled.

1 bunch of spring onions, chopped

2 Large tomatoes (heirlooms, if you can)

Cut pita

Cut pita

4 cucumbers, washed and cut in slices (Persian if possible)

2 pita bread, cut in small squares with  kitchen scissors and fried in vegetable oil till crisp (or toasted in oven till light brown)

DRESSING:

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 Large tablespoons of sumak

2 mashed cloves of garlic (or a teaspoon of prepared toom)

salt

1/2  cup of extra virgin olive oil

METHOD:

After washing all the herbs and the vegetables, chop them up and place in a salad bowl. The purslane (or verdolaga)leaves do not need to be chopped. Add the crisp pita croutons, sprinkle  a bit of sumak over the salad. Whisk the dressing and right before serving toss all the ingredients with it. Sahteyn!

NOTE:

Radishes, cut up in slices are sometimes added to fattoosh. Also, sumak can be sprinkled on the salad instead of stirred into the dressing. This way, any leftover dressing can be used for other salads.


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