The Best Fattoush Salad Recipe
This is the best fattoush salad recipe.
It's not traditional fattoush, but it is the best. And you will like it - if you like fresh ingredients and lots of flavors. It has all the best things - tomatoes, little cucumbers, pomegranate arils, radishes, goat cheese, torn pita bread, cilantro, mint, sumac, etc.
Fattoush is a Levantine bread salad made with sumac and stale pita bread. It's very similar to Panzanella recipes. It typically has some sort of combination of cucumbers, tomatoes, mint, onions, olive oil, lemon juice, and sumac. I'm going a little outside the norm on this salad but still trying to stay true to Middle Eastern flavors.
There are a lot of things I'm not particularly good at...calculating tips, remembering to put the clothes in the dryer, knowing how to end phone calls, but I'm really really good at making salads. If I ever had a cookbook it would be called Awesome Salads. I like eating salads, I like making salads, I like touching all the fruit and veggies at the farmer's market that I want to make into salads, and I like looking through cookbooks full of salads. One such delightful book is Yotam Ottolenghi's Jerusalem cookbook. He has an excellent recipe for fattoush - it challenged me to think of fattoush in a new way.
From Ottolenghi, I learned to add a creamy base (in his case laban, in mine goat's cheese) and radishes. I knew radishes were an option in fattoush salads because I'd seen them in photos at a few restaurants, but I'd never tried it. To be honest, by about year 5 in the Middle East I wasn't all that interested in eating fattoush anymore - it always felt like an afterthought against better, more interesting dishes like stuffed grape leaves or bulgur salads.
I will always have a special place in my heart for a traditional fattoush salad, but I thought I'd share something that I find truly exciting here. As an aside, I've been seeing a bunch of videos about seeding pomegranates that are frankly shocking - people hitting pomegranates with a wooden spoon! Sure it gets out the seeds, but it breaks a bunch of them and they lose their juiciness! Here's a little vid I put out on my Facebook page about how to get the seeds from a pomegranate: