Fattoush

chopped salad with crispy pitta bread and summer herbs

It feels like we are finally moving into the English summer, and with the sunshine comes the desire for light, fresh and easy dishes to eat outside, making the most of the weather. This is my “Shipton Mill” take on fattoush, a Middle-Eastern chopped salad which usually contains some kind of crispy bread. I like loading it up with handfuls of fresh herbs, for strong and zingy flavours – be generous with the parsley and mint. The sumac spicing gives the salad a lovely citrus note, further enhanced by the lemon juice. It’s also a great way to use up slightly stale pitta breads – I bake them in the oven to dry them out to a crisp, but you could fry them for a more indulgent version. Some cooks have suggested adding pomegranate molasses to the dressing which is an addition that I really like, but it also works without it if you can’t get hold of any.

If you want to make pitta breads from scratch, there is a simple recipe for this in “A Handful of Flour” – it’s great fun to watch the little pockets of dough inflating in the oven.

To bulk this salad up as a main course you can vary from the more traditional versions by adding some chopped feta or grilled halloumi.

Serves 4-6 as a light main if you bulk it up, or 8-10 as a side salad

INGREDIENTS

  • FOR THE CROUTONS
  • 3 pitta bread (preferably slightly stale)
  • olive oil, for brushing
  • FOR THE DRESSING
  • 70ml olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2-3 tsp pomegranate molasses (optional)
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed or very finely chopped
  • 2 tsp sumac, plus extra for sprinkling
  • FOR THE SALAD
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 little gem lettuce, sliced into strips
  • 200g radishes, quartered
  • 400g baby cucumber, chopped into chunks
  • 440g cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • generous handful of fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • generous handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • salt and black pepper, to season

METHOD

Preheat your oven to 200°C to make your pitta bread croutons. Lightly brush them with olive oil and place them on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Bake for 10-15 minutes until crispy, turning halfway through so they bake evenly on both sides. Set aside to cool.

Combine your dressing ingredients in a small salad dressing jug or jar, and set aside to allow the garlic to infuse while you prepare the salad.

Wash and chop all your salad ingredients and herbs and toss together, adding the radishes at the end for a dash of colour and decoration. Dress the salad and serve any remaining dressing in a jug for people to add more as they wish.

Break the pitta bread into small crouton sized chunks. Stir these through at the last minute for maximum crispy texture, or if you want them to be softer you can add them and then leave it to sit for 20 minutes before serving.

This salad will keep for a couple of days if stored in the fridge and covered with cling film.

fattoush landscape

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