Fattoush platter recipe makes the Middle Eastern bread salad a party

Fattoush platter recipe makes the Middle Eastern bread salad a party

Fattoush dish

Total time:35 minutes

Servings:6 to 8 (makes 12 cups)

Total time:35 minutes

Servings:6 to 8 (makes 12 cups)


Language evolves, and so do recipes. This one gives an example of both.

When I made it—and especially when I wrote about it—I kept thinking about an old friend, a former fellow copy editor who, like many of us, may be a little pedantic. In particular, I was thinking about how every time food writers at our publication described the restaurant trend of reworking a dish into its individual components, he would rage if they dared to use the word “deconstruct” or any of its forms. Deconstruction should apply only to the particular form of literary and philosophical analysis that bears the name, he argued, and not just to the idea of ​​breaking something into its parts.

As much as I like to uphold some traditional ideas about language – don’t get me started “literally”, for example – I never bought this one. Perhaps it’s because I’ve never studied literary or philosophical analysis in the same way he did, but I’ve never understood the harm of its more colloquial usage. More importantly, I could never think of a better term to quickly convey to most readers (especially those with no philosophy degree) that, say, a pastry chef played with mold by presenting individual dollops of lemon curd, marshmallow cream, and shortbread as ” Lemon Meringue Pie.”

Anyway, no offense, John, but the recipe I’m excited about this week is a deconstructed fattoush, the Middle Eastern bread salad. Traditionally made with leftover pita bread, seasonal vegetables and a dressing with the sharp spice sumac, fattoush is as popular in the Levant as panzanella in Italy.

I always think of fattoush as a casual, jumbled up thing that looks good. In her wonderful new cookbook “In Praise of Veg”, Alice Zaslavsky takes it one step further: instead of layering or tossing the fattoush, she suggests arranging its elements – tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, toasted pita breads. and a lemony dressing – in separate piles on a large platter and let your guests combine as they please. To add some protein and qualify this as a main course, I like to add a pile of chickpeas—a legume that is loved not only in my house, but also in the fattoush homeland.

Since the idea here is that everyone around the table can make whatever salad they want, and put together their perfect appetizers, deconstruct might not be the right word after all. With this recipe you can reconstruct fattoush.

Make Ahead: The pita breads can be made and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days before making the dish.

Storage Notes: Refrigerate up to 5 days, preferably with the pita bread and dressing separate from the rest of the salad.

Where to buy: Sumac can be found in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and international grocers, as well as online.

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  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely grated or pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes, preferably a mix of shapes, sizes, and colors, cored and cut into rounds and/or wedges as needed
  • 3 to 4 small cucumbers (12 ounces total), sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, de-stemmed, cored and sliced
  • One (15-ounce) saltless chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas)
  • 1/2 medium red onion (3 ounces), chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground sumac (can substitute za’atar spice mix)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • Lemon wedges, to serve with it
  • 4 small pita breads or 2 large pita bread (6 ounces), cut into triangles
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.

Make the salad: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Taste and season with more salt and/or pepper if necessary.

Arrange the tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, chickpeas and onion on a large serving platter. Sprinkle with the sumac and drizzle with 1/4 cup dressing.

Make the crispy pita breads: While the salad sits and the flavors meld, on a large, rimmed baking sheet, toss the pita triangles with the olive oil and spread out. Roast for about 10 minutes, turning if necessary, until golden brown and crispy.

Arrange the pita breads on the platter. Sprinkle with the herbs and serve with the lemon wedges and remaining dressing.

Per serving (1 1/2 cups), based on 8

Calories: 299; Total fat: 19 g; Saturated fat: 3 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 290mg; Carbohydrates: 30 g; Dietary fiber: 5 g; sugar: 6 g; Protein: 6 grams

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a dietician or nutritionist.

Adapted from “In Honor of Veg” by Alice Zaslavsky (Appetite, 2022).

Tested by Joe Yonan; e-mail questions to [email protected].

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