I love fattoush - it's one of my very favorite salads! Just as Jeremy will inevitably order a Reuben if he sees one on a menu, if fattoush is offered to me I will always happily eat some.
Fattoush is easy to make, showcases fresh ingredients from the garden or the farmers' market (or both), and is a flavorful accompaniment to meat or fish in addition to being fabulous all on its own.
This is an Arabic salad which began, as did the Italian panzanella, as merely a way to use up stale bread by combining it with vegetables and letting a dressing help to soften the crisp bread. But these bread salads are so fabulous that I never bother to wait until the primary ingredient is stale - I just toast up some fresh bread and proceed along whenever a craving strikes!
The sumac included in the dressing ingredients is vital, and is available very inexpensively at Middle Eastern markets. It provides a sour flavor that enhances, rather than overpowering, the salad, working in conjunction with the lemon juice without making the dish too tart.
1 cup chopped parsley
1 large piece whole wheat pita bread, torn into 1" pieces and toasted lightly
1 small red onion, quartered, sliced thin
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 large cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded, sliced thin
Juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground sumac
lettuce, for serving (optional)
Place parsley, toasted pita, onion, tomatoes and cucumber into a large mixing bowl. Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and sumac. Pour dressing over the salad and combine well. Let salad rest for 30 minutes to let flavors develop, then serve over lettuce if desired.
Serves 6 as a side dish.