Bread is a very special thing to me, a food I would never waste and I’m sure this comes from my upbringing. Whether it’s served fresh in a basket or crisp and tossed into a simple salad like a crouton, it’s the one food I could never live without. So the fattoush salad, perhaps the most famous of all Arabic salads, brings together bread and green freshness in a way that is always a delight.
It couldn’t be simpler, yet too often I’ve eaten it and wished I could get into the kitchen and make it for myself. The dressing I use mixes pomegranate molasses, a sharp, sweet syrup reminiscent of a sour treacle.
For the sumac pitta croutons
- 2 pitta breads
- olive oil
For the salad
- 1 Cos lettuce, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 small bunch of mint, the freshest you can get
- 1 small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, the freshest you can get
- 1 small cucumber, diced
- 4–5 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1 pomegranate (optional)
For the dressing
- 75ml pomegranate molasses
- juice of 1–2 lemons
- 25ml olive oil
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6 and have a baking tray ready.
Slice the pita open, cut it into 1–2cm squares then spread these on the baking sheet. Pour over a little oil then sprinkle with a little sumac and toss the pitta squares so they’re lightly coated in the oil and spice. Bake in the oven for 15–20 minutes or until the pitta has crisped and started to brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, then transfer to a bowl.
For the salad, put the lettuce in a bowl with the herbs and cucumber. Sprinkle over the radish slices. Have the pitta chips ready in a bowl.
Make the dressing by whisking the molasses, juice of 1 lemon and the oil until smooth. Then add salt with extra lemon juice to taste: I like this dressing quite tart but play with the flavour to suit yourself.
To serve, simply pour about half the dressing on the salad with little salt, add a few handfuls of pitta croutons and toss everything together. Have the remainder of the dressing in a bowl on the table to serve alongside.