Heat and humidity definitely affect one’s appetite. One can easily spend the day drinking juices or slurping on slushes, smoothies and sorbets. For a meal option, how about fattoush? Just throw-in all the veggies leftover in your fridge, dice them up, toast some pita croutons, and sprinkle good sumac, olive oil and lemon juice.
This salad is as essential to a Lebanese mezze as hummus. An essential feature of this salad is sumac, now a well-known spice among foodies in the US. The reason sumac is used is because it grows wild all over the Lebanese mountains, and when used in cooking adds a nice sour note to the dish. It was a way to make do, as lemons or citrus is not available year-round, and sumac, once dried in the sun and ground, can be used for the whole year.
Another essential element of this salad is purslane, aka portulaca oleracea, aka ba’leh in arabic, aka verdolaga in Mexico and Latin America. The purslane also grows wild in the mountains, and not just in Lebanon, but just about everywhere. It is considered a weed, as it grows in the tiniest places, even in the middle of a concrete parking lot, and spreads everywhere. It is also a very nutritious weed! It is unfortunately not that widespread for consumption in the US yet, but one can easily find it in Latino supermarkets in the produce section under the name verdolaga.
If you would like to see me making some fattoush, this video was shot on location in the Lebanese mountains.
Fattoush saladJoumana Accad Mediterranean, Middle Eastern August 24, 2015 Main Dish, Salads, Mezze/Appetizers, salad, fattoush, lebanesefood, purslane, mixed veggies, sumac, garlic, tagged,
Prep Time: 45 minutes
- 2 large lemons (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup juice)
- 3/4 cup EVOO
- 1/4 cup sumac (soaked in the lemon juice)
- 1 tsp garlic paste (about 2 or 3 cloves mashed with salt in a mortar)
For the salad:
- 1 Romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
- 1 or 2 bunches of purslane, leaves only
- 6 cucumbers, peeled, and sliced (best to use Persian or Armenian cucumbers)
- 6 medium tomatoes, diced
- 1 bunch radishes, sliced (see Note)
- 1 bunch green onions, sliced
- 1 cup chopped Italian parsley
- 1/2 cup chopped mint leaves
- 1 green bell pepper, diced small
2 to 4 cups fried pita croutons
- Whisk the salad dressing ingredients in a salad bowl. Add the salad ingredients and toss to combine.
- Top the salad with the croutons and toss gently to mix. Serve immediately. Sahtein!
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