Fattoush with Crispy Croutons & Sumac Dressing

by grainnep

Lavender

Cut Lavender

Summer arrived this weekend and we spent a long afternoon in the garden soaking up the available rays while sheltering from the still slightly chilly wind. Memories of lying behind a windbreaker on a Wexford beach and running to dive into freezing seas convincing yourself it was summer, and sure it was summer, Just Irish Style.

This salad is an amazing crunchy crispy tangy dish which converted some of the most hardened salad ‘I couldn’t be bothered types’ I made a huge platter of it and it was demolished, in fact the plate was practically licked clean. I served this with a huge dish of slow roast lamb but it would also be great as an accompaniment to any other meats or burger on the barbie. The secret is to dress everything at the last minute and make enough dressing to leave out extra on the table as that is yummy in itself for dipping into. It is the Sumac that adds the delicious lemony flavour coupled with the Pomegranate molasses brings this salad to another level. Trust me, try this – you won’t have to work too hard to get everyone tucking in and enjoying the health benefits from it and judging from the number of requests to post this recipe as soon as possible, it is going to be a summer staple in my family.

Sumac Dressing
4 tsp sumac mixed in 4 tsp warm water
4 tbsp pomegranate molasses
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chardonnay vinegar (Forum is a lovely one)
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Whisk everything until the dressing emulsifies.
Taste and season if required.
Set aside until needed.
(This will keep for a couple of days in the fridge).

12 plum tomatoes seeded and chopped
1 cucumber descended and sliced
3 spring onions sliced
6 radishes cleaned and sliced
1 romaine lettuce cleaned, outer leaves discarded, remaining cut into bite size pieces
Few handfuls of purslane if you can get it otherwise omit

4 pitta breads sliced into bite size pieces
Oil for frying

Leaves from 1/3 bunch flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped and leaves from 3 to 5 sprigs of mint finely chopped.

Heat a small amount of oil over a medium heat until approaching hot
Season the pitta slices and fry until golden brown on both sides, about 1 minute
Drain on parchment paper and set aside until assembling the salad

In a large bowl add the tomatoes, cucumbers and radishes, season then add about 1/3 of the dressing and toss gently to coat.
Tip onto your serving platter.
In the same bowl, add the lettuce pieces, purslane if using, season, add the pitta pieces then dress with about 2 tbsp of the dressing then add to the serving platter.
Sprinkle over the herbs and Serve with the extra dressing on the side and watch as it disappears.

Fattoush