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Fattousch | Lebanese Peasant Salad with Pita Bread Croutons



بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
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Ramadan is only a few days away. And while many cooks out there are planning to cook Dolma (Algerian stuffed vegetables) or even M'touem (Algerian garlic meatballs) I myself after 16+ hours of fasting AM NOT craving any rich and heavy foods in the heat. Give me a date, a small bowl of Chourba, a bourek and a salad I'm happy! 

And we all know salad is healthy. And throwing together a basic salad  is truly not work. Fresh crispy greens, ripe tomatoes with some type of dressing. Sometimes you don't even need the dressing the vegetables are deliciously flavorful. But I do often find myself inspired to go behind the basic simple green salad and prepare other more interesting salads that really celebrate summer.

Fattousch is one such salad. Fattousch (Arabic: فتوش, also fattush, fatush, fattoush, fattoosh,and fattouche) is a bread based Levantine salads made from toasted stale pita bread. It's a simple salad filled with vine ripe summer vegetables lightly tossed together with a vibrantly jazzy lemon-sumac vinaigrette.

This vibrant salad is brilliant eaten al fresco. It's
 prefect to enjoy on long Algerian summer days at the beach and at rooftop terrace Ramadan iftars. There are many renditions of this salad. The recipe below is my rendition --  simple basic and absolutely delicious.  

 I've used  sumac as the prodominate flavoring in the dressing. What is sumac? you ask Sumac is a tart and acidic tasting spice which grows as a small blood red berry throughout the Mediterranean and Middle-East. The berries are harvested, dried and crushed. It's used to flavor many famous Middle Eastern dishes. You can find sumac in Middle Eastern, Turkish, Greek and even Indian shops. In Algeria, I'm sad to say you won't find it. But you can find small packets of zaa'tar. There is really no subsitutue for the flavor of sumac. For the color, you could use sweet paprika. Optionally, you could use zaa'tar herb spice in the dressing as sumac is one of the ingredients used in it. If you can't find sumac, simply prepare the dressing without it. It'll still be really tasty! 

Traditionally, the pita bread strips are swallowed fried but I've toasted the pita bread strips in the oven to cut down on the fat. It's delicious both ways, but personally prefer the taste of the baked pita strips. If you prefer to fry the strips, just remember to reduce the amount of oil in the dressing.


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{ FATTOUSCH }
  LEBANESE PEASANT SALAD WITH PITA BREAD CROUTONS 

COLORFUL AND VIBRANT LEBANESE SALAD THAT'S PACKED WITH FLAVOR THAT MAKES GOOD USE OF LEFTOVER PITA BREAD. PREFECT ACCOMPANIMENTS TO ANY GRILLED OR BARABUED MEAT OR FISH. 

YIELD: serves 4-6
ACTIVE PREP TIME: 3 -5 mins 
INACTIVE PREP TIME:0 mins
COOK TIME: 8-10 mins


KNIFE,   CUTTING BOARD,  SPOON , OVEN, BAKINJG SHEET, SALAD BOWL  

۞ = SUBSTITUTIONS



FOR THE SALAD
  • 1 head of Little Gem lettuce (or your favorite lettuce variety)
  • 1 bunch of tender spinach (about 2 cups)
  • 1 bunch - about ½ coarsely chopped parsely, leaves only
  • 3 ripe roma tomatoes, cubed medium bite-size pieces
  • 1 large cucumber, cubed medium bite-size pieces
  • 1 cubanelle or green pepper, chopped bite-size pieces
  • 125g - about ½ thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 3 scallions, finely sliced
  • a large loaf of pita bread or 2 small pita breads, cubed or cut into strips

FOR THE DRESSING
  • 50ml - ¼ cup fruity olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1 small red onion or shallot, minced fine
  • ½ garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tsp sumac (a sour-tasting ground spice, available in Middle Eastern shops)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried mint (or fresh mint leaves according to preference)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

BRUSH the tops of your pita bread with generous amounts of olive oil.  With a large and sharp knife cut your seasoned pita bread into small strips or squares. Place the pita  in a baking sheet or pan and toast at 170°C - 325°F until crispy. Set aside.

WASH all fresh vegetables in cold water and cut them in medium bite-sized pieces (Square shaped if possible) Place everything in large salad bowl and mix until well combined.

FOR the dressing, place all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake. Optionally, blend altogether in a salad dressing shaker or blender.

ADD half the pita strips in the salad bowl. Then drizzle the dressing over the salad. Add as much or as little as you like. Gently mix, allowing for all the ingredients to be covered in the dressing. Finally arrange the remaining pita strips on top for a fresh and crunchy look.

Serve this salad with plently of pita that you use to scoop up the salad with. Optionally topped with grilled meat or as an accompaniment to roasted or grilled meats.  Extra dressing keep in a jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.


Subsistute
There's really no good sub for sumac, but optionally you can add more lemon juice to get that bitter taste or even use zaa'tar spice blend which already has sumac in it. 

Storage

This salad is really meant to be eaten fresh, but you're making this for picnic, work/school lunches it's best to dress the salad and add the pita strips before eating. 

Variation
This salad's already pretty amazing already but you can make it even better by adding one or more of the following:

Ricotta salata cheese, Feta cheese, shredded carrot, red pepper, black olives, radishes, pomegranates arills

Gluten-Free
You can make this salad GF by using Gluten-Free pita bread like this one or omitting the pita bread altogether.

 CATEGORIES:  SUMMER, SALAD, MEDITERANEAN, MIDDLE EASTERN, healthy, quick & easy, vegan, vegetarian

SOURCE:  HENI EL G

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    Absolutely delicious as an accompaniment to my Beef kebabs along with some Greek  Pita bread to scoop up the salad with. 



    what's your favorite summer salad? 



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    1 comment:

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