VIRTUAL DINNER PARTY #54 MIDDLE EASTERN FATTOUSH

INGREDIENTS:

3 large pita bread rounds

½ C cucumber (peeled, seeded and diced)

2 C grape tomatoes (halved)

¼ small red onion (slivered)

1 clove garlic, minced

3 T fresh mint, chopped

3 T fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped

1/3 C high quality olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

1 t ground sumac (optional)

2 C arugula

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

METHOD:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place the pita rounds on a baking sheet and bake until lightly browned and crisp. Alternately, place pita in toaster and toast briefly.  When cool enough to handle, break into irregular, bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

In a large salad bowl, place tomatoes, red onion and cucumbers.  Add 1 ½ t salt and gently toss to combine.  Allow vegetables to rest and release their juice (this should take about 15 minutes.) Pour the liquid from the bowl into a measuring cup and set aside – you’ll use it later in the vinaigrette.

Make the vinaigrette:  Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic and sumac (if using.) Gradually whisk in 1/3 C of reserved tomato/cucumber water. Taste for salt and pepper. Set aside.

Add arugula, mint and parsley to the bowl with the tomatoes, red onion and cucumber. Pour in half of the vinaigrette and toss lightly.  Add the toasted pita pieces and more of the vinaigrette and toss again.  Note: I prefer a drier fattoush salad so I use less of the vinaigrette. Using more of the vinaigrette will allow the pita to soak up more of the flavorful dressing but makes them softer and your salad will have less textural contrast. 

serves 2