Fattoush is a Middle Eastern salad that is so much more than the sum of its parts. Traditionally, it is made with any seasonal vegetables, and was invented as a way of using up stale pitta bread. Often the bread is deep fried, but you can also grill it for convenience.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time:10 minutes
1 large handful watercress leaves
200g peas (frozen is fine)
3 spring onions, finely sliced
5 radishes, finely sliced
Small handful mint leaves, finely shredded
Small handful dill, roughly chopped
2 pitta breads
100g feta cheese
1 small clove garlic
1 small red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
Sumac, to garnish (a lemon-flavoured spice found in Middle Eastern grocers). This is optional, but nice if you can find it because you'll get that authentic flavour.
1. Begin by making the dressing. In a pestle and mortar, bash the garlic and chilli with a pinch of salt until it is a coarse paste. Add the lemon juice, olive oil and some pepper and stir very vigorously to emulsify (a small whisk is handy here). Check the seasoning and add more salt or pepper to taste. You want to be generous with the salt and pepper for this recipe.
2. Toast the pitta breads until golden on each side and allow to cool. Cook the peas in a pan of boiling salted water then drain and rinse under cold water to stop them cooking any further.
3. To prepare the cucumber, slice in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds using a teaspoon (this stops the salad from being too wet), then slice finely. To assemble the salad, mix the watercress leaves, peas, cucumber, radishes, spring onions and herbs in a bowl.
4. Cut the pitta breads in half and then into bite size pieces before adding them to the bowl, followed by half the dressing. Toss to combine. Arrange the salad on a plate and crumble over the feta. Drizzle the remaining dressing on top followed by a sprinkle of sumac, if using.
5. For this spring-time version, sweet peas, crisp, peppery radishes and cucumber make a refreshing combination. Herbs are really important and I've used dill and mint which compliment the peas well, although any soft herbs will work. The pitta chips provide crunch and substance and the sharp-salty feta cheese, a little bit of what you fancy.