If you are Middle Eastern by birth or simply love the flavors of that ancient cradle of civilization, you will probably want to make fattoush salad a regular staple of your Levant-inspired dinners. In and of itself, this is nothing more than an ordinary chopped salad topped with a fresh lime vinaigrette. What truly adds life to the salad is the crusty, homemade pita chip croutons.
As is the case with numerous cultures, bread is at the center of many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. Because leftovers are inevitable, frugal homemakers and chefs have found ingenious ways to put day-old pita to good use. The fattoush salad is a crowning example of this creativity. Preparation is a simple matter of frying stale bread in olive oil and making it into chips that are mixed with whatever vegetables you might have on hand. These can include cucumbers, tomatoes, green onions, lettuce and radish as well as herbs like parsley or mint. The result is a delicious, always versatile bread salad.
The most appealing form of this Lebanese salad will be made of simple but fresh ingredients, including fresh lime and the best olive oil you can find. If possible, avoid using store-bought pita chips although they will do in a pinch. If you can, add a dash of a spice called sumac as it provides a flavor unique to fattoush. Creativity can be the order of the day, so don’t be shy about jazzing up your salad with green peppers, celery or your favorite herbs. No matter how you slice it, you will love this unique yet universally appealing and nutritious Middle Eastern dish.