Fattoush can be served on its own as a light starter or as an accompaniment to a Lebanese roasted or barbecued chicken or kebabs.
You can use whatever salad ingredients you like. The main ones are bread, tomatoes and sumac (see Glossary), ingredients which give authenticity to the dish. In Lebanon, we use ba’li (purslane), it is a herb sold usually in bunches and you often see it in Lebanese, Greek and Turkish grocers during spring and summer. We use the leaves which are dark green and tender, that is why we don’t chop them. If you can’t get purslane, you could replace it with fresh broad flat leaf watercress, though peppery, it works well.
Fattoush tastes better if mixed and served straight away. You can prepare the dressing ahead of time and leave it aside. Likewise, you can chop the vegetables including herbs and keep in the fridge but leave out the toasted bread and add it last before pouring the dressing into the mixture. This is my version:
Serves: 2-3 people
- Half an Arabic bread or pitta bread toasted and broken into small pieces
- 3 – 4 leaves of romano lettuce shredded or any kind of crisp lettuce
- 1small onion finely sliced or the equivalent of spring onions finely chopped
- 1 small cucumber or ¼ of an English cucumber coarsely chopped into cubes
- 2 red radishes thinly sliced in circles. Alternatively ½ small red pepper thinly sliced
- 50gr / 2 oz purslane. Strip the leaves off the stalks, wash leaves in a colander, drain excess water then dry on kitchen paper. Alternatively, use the same amount of fresh broad flat leaf watercress.
- Few sprigs of mint or 1 full tsp dried mint.
- 25g/1 oz parsley rough stalks discarded keeping the fine ones that have the leaves attached washed and dried then coarsely chopped.
- 275g/ 10 oz vine-ripened tomatoes chopped
- 1fat clove of garlic peeled and crushed to a paste
- 2tbsp lemon juice
- 1tsp sumac
- 4tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Seasoning: Salt and freshly milled black pepper
- Mix the chopped vegetables and herbs, season, then add the bread last.
- Mix the dressing ingredients and tip them into the salad mixture, toss them together, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Serve at once, for the bread has to be moist but most importantly crunchy. Like most salads, consume the same day.