Fattoush (fah-TOOSH) is the Middle Eastern version of bread salad, made with torn bits of pita and lots of late-summer vegetables. This version is a main dish, thanks to the addition of chicken and kidney beans.
This tart and refreshing Lebanese salad is very versatile: You can make it with lettuce or purslane, and with or without bread. The fresh herbs are important not only to add flavor but also to hold the ground sumac that gives the dish its distinctive taste.
The ingredients in this tasty salad vary with the seasons. Purslane, used in the summer, is replaced by romaine lettuce in winter. Other vegetables that are sometimes added include radishes, blanched cauliflower, pickled cucumbers and bitter greens.
Based on a recipe from Soheila Kimberleyâ€™s cookbook, Taste of the Middle East. This is a simple peasant salad popular all over Syria and the Lebanon. Although the recipe calls for only 2 tablespoon of each herb, you can add as much as you like based on taste and availability. You may also crush the toasted crisp pita bread in your hand and sprinkle it atop the salad before serving. I find this salad very refreshing.
Toasting the pita adds crunch to this bright-tasting salad, and a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of ground sumac—the berry of a bush that grows wild all over Lebanon—add depth. Letting the salad sit for a bit before eating allows the pita to soak up the lemony dressing.