“Fattoush” from “Happy Salads”

IMG_9332Fattoush is delicious. It’s like the Arab version of the Italian bread salad– Panzanella for those keeping score at home– but it’s got its own twist, in this case, by using radishes with sumac and pita, rather than olive oil and stale Italian bread.

I’ve made fattoush before, mostly using the recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s seminal cookbook, “Jerusalem.” His version differs in that you make a buttermilk dressing to soak the bread in before assembling the salad.

The thing I liked about this version was it seemed slightly more straightforward and requiring fewer ingredients than the “Jerusalem” version, but I just went back and compared the two and the “Happy Salads” version actually has two more ingredients. So I’m not sure why I have that impression, but I do.

Both recipes have you do a bit of a faff about bread. In “Jerusalem” you soak the bread in buttermilk for a few hours. In “Happy Salads,” you toast the pita bread and then fry it in olive oil and dust it with sumac. In the interest of full disclosure, I did not fry it; I only toasted it and then sprinkled some sumac over the salad.

Both versions are delicious. I like them both in different ways, so I’ll call it a tie. The next time I make fattoush, the version I use will probably come down to which cookbook I find first.

Highly recommended.

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“Fattoush” from “Happy Salads”

“Turkey & Courgette Burgers with Spring Onion & Cumin” from “Jerusalem”

CBAMTurkeyBurgersTim: Yum.

Maureen: I absolutely agree. I had forgotten about this recipe until you reminded me. This is the second time that’s happened with this cookbook. It’s perfect for a summer night. It didn’t take too long to prepare, and it’s great with all the fresh vegetables on the side.

Andrew (14): Where’s the bread? Or the rolls? If they’re turkey burgers, they should have rolls, right?

Maureen: Funny you should ask that. Your father and I had exactly the same discussion in the aisles of Waitrose, but he said we didn’t have to get rolls because there wasn’t one in the pictures. Then as I was making it, he offered to make pita bread or flat bread, but I said, no, it was too late for bread.

Andrew: It’s great, but I think it needs bread.

Maureen: I’m not sure bread is an absolute necessity, but some pita would be nice the next time we make it. What do you think Nicholas?

Nicholas (11): They’re good.

Tim: These are my favourite turkey burgers, by far.

Maureen: Kirstin is a big fan of the ones by Gwyneth Paltrow from “It’s All Good,” but I think these are aces.

Tim: We also get to use some more sumac. This is good, since we have such a surplus of it in the house.

Maureen: The soured cream and sumac sauce is also good for dipping in all the crudites we’ve got on the table. Though I don’t think the boys agree.

Andrew: I’m not as sure about the sumac sauce, but I love the burgers. I’m going to have another.

Maureen: Another hungry teenager satisfied. I call that a result.

If you’d like to make this yourself, the blog 3 Bad Mice has the recipe. Click through this paragraph to be taken to the blog.

“Turkey & Courgette Burgers with Spring Onion & Cumin” from “Jerusalem”

“Za’atar Chicken with Fattoush” from “Forever Summer”

Anna: More chicken tonight, but without the French accent as I’m back in London.  Instead we’re working a Middle Eastern vibe.  Za’atar is a mixture of dried thyme, sumac and sesame seeds.  It looks a bit like the stuff you might sweep up from your garden patio but tastes very nice.  It gives a real fragrant earthiness.  It’s pretty hard to get hold of — I found this jar in a mad food collective in Elephant and Castle that Katrin took me to.  What did you think of the za’atar?

Peter: It tasted very Middle Eastern. 

Anna: Why?

Peter: Because of the sesame seeds.  And with the salad it reminded me a bit of the Zuni salad.  Chicken, bread and salad.  Though obviously not Californian.  The whole thing was really summery.  It would probably work stuffed in a pita bread.

Anna: But it’s got pita bread in it.

Peter: Yes, but if it didn’t you could turn it into a Middle Eastern snack-on-the-fly.

Anna: The best thing about this recipe is that it’s easy.  In fact, everything so far in this book has been easy, or maybe I’m still comparing to Faff-Olenghi.  Hurrah for Nigella!  Another success.  Avec le poulet.

“Za’atar Chicken with Fattoush” from “Forever Summer”