Here in Fresno, fattoush salads are really popular — especially during the summer months, when tomatoes are at their best. Zee taught me this recipe in June after her verdura was full-grown. She explained that a traditional fattoush always includes these seasonal weeds that grow in the Middle East, South America…and her front yard. But, I am not a purist like Zee, so I make fattoush year-round — substituting romaine for the verdura and hothouse tomatoes for field ones. The lemon, sumac, and toasted pita carry such flavor that even if your vegetables are wanting a bit, you’ll still enjoy it.
As for eating it with your hands, well, that’s entirely up to you!
- 2 large pitas
- 1 handful verdura An herb that grows in the summer months. In Fresno, you can find it at Armenian and Mexican markets.
- 1 handful fresh Italian parsley With the stems pulled off; not chopped
- 1 handful fresh mint With the stems pulled off; not chopped
- 4 cloves garlic Minced
- 3 field tomatoes Sliced
- 2 cucumbers (Persian preferred) Peeled and chopped.
- 1 red onion Sliced
- 1 handful scallions Chopped
- 1 handful chopped romaine Optional
- 1 handful basil Optional
- 1 large lemon Juiced
- 1/4 jalapeño pepper Optional
- 1 bell pepper Coarsely chopped
- 1 handful sumac
- 1 pinch Aleppo pepper
- 1 large splash olive oil
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 small splash balsamic vinegar Optional
- Toast the pitas by baking them at 425 degrees until they are almost red in color, or use the microwave. (Zee prefers the microwave because you don't have to watch them as closely.) If you use the microwave, let them cook for 3 minutes on high, flip them, go another 2 minutes, flip again, and cook for 1 more minute. The total cooking time should be 6 minutes.
- Set the pita aside to cool while assembling the fresh herbs, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and lettuce.
- Pour the sumac, Aleppo pepper, salt, lemon juice, and olive oil on the salad and toss.
- Break of the toasted pita into chips and toss right before serving.