Fattoush, Lebanese Bread Salad

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This Northern Lebanese salad is often served daily and also at the end of the Ramadan fast. Originally made with purslane lettuce, which is not always easy to find here and whatever vegetables were at hand. Leftover pita bread would be torn, and tossed or fried in olive oil and added to the salad of lettuce, vegetables, and herbs on hand.

ONWARD:

Romaine is used here in place of the purslane. Using a whole wheat pita rather than a white flour pita is a healthy alternative. If not familiar with sumac, it is a sour red berry native to the Mediterranean region. It can be found online and at specialty grocers and really must be used in this salad to make it authentic. The grape molasses is a nice addition but is not imperative to making this salad dressing. Balsamic glaze could be substituted for the grape molasses for a bit of sweetness. Rather than frying the pita chips, baking in the oven is much easier and uses less olive oil. It is a refreshing salad that can be enjoyed as a side salad or made into an entrée salad by adding some garbanzo beans.

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4 to 6 side servings

INGREDIENTS:

 Pita bread, sliced in half through the middle of each round and oven-ready.

Pita bread, sliced in half through the middle of each round and oven-ready.

Pita chips

1 ½ whole wheat pita, cut in half by inserting a knife at the edge and circling

1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon sumac

Dressing

⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses

½ teaspoon garlic, mashed

1 teaspoon ground sumac

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Salad

1 head romaine lettuce, cut into 1-inch ribbons

2 small tomatoes, cut into thin wedges

1 ½ small Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced

2 radishes, thinly sliced

½ cup red onions, finely diced

½ red or yellow sweet pepper, cored, seeded, cut into 1x¼ -inch batons

½ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

¼ cup fresh mint, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

1.     Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush both sides of the pita rounds with the olive oil. Sprinkle the top side of the pita with one-half teaspoon sumac. Place on a sheet pan in the oven until crisp, about seven to nine minutes. Remove from oven. The thicker layer of pita may need more time to become crisp. Cool for ten minutes. Break into small pieces. Reserve.

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2.     Make the dressing by whipping the olive oil, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, garlic, one teaspoon sumac, sea salt, and black pepper together.

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3.     Toss all the vegetables together in a bowl.

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4.     Just before serving toss the dressing with the mixed vegetables. Sprinkle the pita chips.

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