My absolute favorite salad! Lemony, tangy and oh so simple and can be as elegant as the herbs you chop for it. In fact, you could also use whole leaves and they would have to be young and tender. This is a traditional Lebanese salad called “Fattoush”. Typically, it’s made as a starter and really complimentary to grilled foods.
Growing up, we used to spend summers in our hometown in the mountains of Lebanon. My grandparents’ house was surrounded by gardens packed with fruit trees, herbs and delicious greens. My favorite spot to sit and eat my salad was the edge of a long mint bed backed by a stone wall and cornered by a large flowering Jasmine tree. It was such a Zen space and every time I make this salad, I am mentally transported right there, on the edge of that fragrant mint bed. Ahhhh!!
I start by washing all the greens and leaving them in a mesh basket to dry out. Using them wet will liquify the dressing and dilute it. While they dry , I slice and spice the onion and set it aside in the salad bowl.
To prepare the parsley, remove the tie, then arrange the leaves side by side like a bouquet of freshly picked flowers. By doing this, it maximizes the usage of the parsley and avoids the use of the stems as much as possible. Once the whole bunch is arranged, tie it around with a rubber band or the tie that was originally used. That will keep it together until you’re ready to chop. It’s very important to pass the knife only once over greens (herbs, lettuce, etc.) to avoid bruising the leaves which will turn the dressing green, and may add bitterness to the salad.
Once all the herbs and vegetables are chopped, place in the bowl over the spiced onions, squeeze the lemon, add the pomegranate molasses, olive oil, sumac, salt, pepper. Toss it all together and top with the crispy pita chips and enjoy.
Summer Herb Salad
1 bunch parsley (2 cups), leaves only, chopped
1 bunch curly endive (2 cups), chopped
1 cup mint, roughly chopped
1 cup purslane, whole leaves (optional)*
1/2 cup spring onions, thinly sliced
1 large ripe tomatoes (2 cups), cubed into ¼ inch
3-4 radishes, thinly sliced (optional)
2 Armenian cucumbers (1 cup), unpeeled and sliced. (Wrapped English cucumber works too)
1 cup pomegranate arils (seasonal)**
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon sumac, ground
3/4 tsp salt or adjust to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
* If you can’t find purslane, substitute the amount with parsley.
** The pomegranate arils add a wonderful texture and flavor. Once you try with them, you will always crave it that way.
2 pita rounds, split apart
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 Tbsp extra virgini olive oil
Slice the pita rounds lengthwise, then slice into bite size squares. Spread on a baking sheet, drizzle the oil then sprinkle with the oregano and salt. Toss until all coated well. Broil until crispy. Let cool and toss with the salad just before serving.