Fattoush – Mediterranean Salad

Summers and salads go hand in hand. When the heat is going up, the body asks for more refreshing, water-rich and citrus-y ingredients. Thats exactly what this salad is. We made this during the global lockdown, so it’s been made with the ingredients that were available in the fridge. Never hesitate in making something if a few ingredients are not available. The trick is to find the closest substitute – and while substituting, remember to find the closest tasing ingredient, and a similar texture.

We didn’t have cucumbers when we made this, but thats one of the most refreshing ingredients. So, make sure to add that. Also, you can add other varieties of lettuce, rocket leaves, red cabbage and others.

Take olive oil, garlic and thyme in a bowl. We didn’t have fresh thyme, so we’ve added dried thyme. Always chop your herbs fresh so that they retain their flavour. Add these to the bowl. Zest your lemon using a zester. If you don’t have one you can use a small and fine grater. Just grate the outer yellow layer and not the white pith. That white part is bitter. Be careful!

Squeeze fresh lemon juice into the bowl, and add salt, sugar and freshly crushed black pepper.

Tear or chop, do it however you like but make sure you do it fresh. The myth – don’t cut your lettuce with a knife because it will brown the edges – has been busted but yet, we like to tear it fresh. We like those uneven pieces in the salad because it adds more body to it. Feel free to do it the way you like.

If your lettuce has wilted, don’t worry, clean it up removing the unwanted parts and put it in a big bowl of chilled water. Let it rest in the refrigerator for about 30-60 minutes. Et voilà, you have your crisp fresh lettuce.

Add the diced veggies to your lettuce bowl. Mix the dressing well, adjust the salt and sugar if needed, and pour it on the veggies. Mix it well with a wooden spoon.

Always take a bigger bowl than needed for the salad. This is to ensure that you have enough space to mix the dressing well with the veggies. If you like you can toss the salad with your hands. Its very comforting!

Ideally, pita bread is toasted and added to the fattoush. We didn’t have time to make them but wanted a replacement for that texture. I had regular sliced brown bread lying at home. So, we rolled it out with a rolling pin, toasted it in the oven for 2-3 minutes at 180ºC and cut it sharply into triangles. You can try this out!

Recipe: Fattoush

Ingredients:

  • 1 bowl of lettuce
  • 2 tomatoes, diced (optionally, you can remove the seed and pulp)
  • 2 cucumber, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • ½ red cabbage, shredded (optional)
  • 1 bowl of peppers (red, yellow, green capsicum), diced
  • 2 pita breads/regular bread slices, broken into pieces (omit for a gluten-free version)

Dressing:

  • 3 tbsp mint, chopped
  • A few sprigs parsley, chopped (optional)
  • 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • Zest of 1lemon
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp powdered sugar
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Toast the broken pita/bread in an oven. Keep aside.
  2. In a bowl mix lemon juice, zest, thyme, garlic, salt. Black pepper, sugar, mint, parsley and olive oil. Blend well and keep aside.
  3. Put all the vegetables in a big bowl. Pour the dressing over it and just before serving top it with toasted pita.

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