Traditionally, fattoush is a Lebanese mezze, a salad composed of tomatoes and cucumbers, often radishes and green peppers, and some form of greens, usually purslane. It was also a type of Middle Eastern panzanella: a way to use up day-old stale pita bread, which was fried into crispy croutons and then tossed with a fragrant salad, flavored with the distinctive sour note of a sumac, lemon & olive oil dressing.
In this version of fattoush, arugula & parsley replace the purslane, which is out of season in the Northeast by the time tomatoes arrive, and rather than toss the salad with crisp pita croutons, I plated individual servings over lavash crackers for maximum crispness.
Fattoush is a nicely adaptable salad, and can work with all manner of crisp summer vegetables and flavorful greens. Sumac is a must here, however, to achieve the classic sour flavor in the dressing.
Adapted from Fattoush in Taste, Recipes for Entertaining, by Williams Sonoma
- 1 sheet lavash, broken into roughly 3-inch crackers
- 1 clove garlic, minced with a pinch of salt to form a paste
- juice + zest of ½ a lemon
- 1 tsp sumac*
- about ¼ cup olive oil
- small pinch Aleppo pepper (optional)
- salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
*Allergy note: sumac is related to cashew and mango, botanically, so people with allergies to either should also avoid sumac.
- 4 oz baby arugula
- 1 oz (1 cup, loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
- ½ oz (½ cup, loosely packed) fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
- 12 oz plum tomatoes, diced
- 12 oz cucumber (about 2 medium), seeded and diced
- 6 oz red onion (1 medium), finely diced
- 1 stalk celery, with leaves, thinly sliced
- In a Ball jar or other airtight container, combine dressing ingredients and shake vigorously until oil is emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside.
- In a large salad bowl, combine vegetables, tossing to mix. Shake dressing once again, then pour over vegetables. Toss well to evenly coat salad with dressing. Serve immediately over 3 to 4 lavash crackers per serving.
- If starting with store-bought or soft lavash, paint both sides of the bread with melted butter, then crisp in a 350-degree F oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Cool, then break into cracker pieces. If starting with stale pita or bread, toss in melted butter or olive oil, then crisp in the oven prior to tossing with the salad.
- For a less peppery flavor, replace some or all of the arugula with watercress, sorrel, purslane or other crisp baby greens.
- Sumac can be foraged locally: staghorn sumac is common in the Hudson Valley and the berries can be harvested in early Fall.
Best eaten immediately. If stored, store salad separately from lavash, refrigerated for up to 2 days.