I have a busy weekend of my other passion; bike racing (watching, not participating,) so I thought I would post this week’s recipe a little early. As I have mentioned before, I am a bit fickle with recipe sources, but my current cooking crush has lasted over a year and I think will continue on as a regular resource. The crush is Yotam Ottolenghi and this month I have been cooking a bunch out of his vegetarian cookbook Plenty (I highly recommend.) This is one of his recipes that is on my list, but I have not done yet (it is not quite tomato season here.) So, go forth and experiment for me. Enjoy your week!
- scant 1 cup / 200 g Greek yogurt and 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp/200 ml whole milk, or 1 2/3 cups/400 ml buttermilk (replacing both yogurt and milk)
- 2 large stale Turkish flatbread or naan (9 oz/ 250 g in total)
- 3 large tomatoes (13 oz/ 380 g in total), cut into 2/3-inch/1.5 cm dice
- 3 oz/100 g radishes, thinly sliced
- 3 Lebanese or mini cucumbers (9 oz/ 250 g in total), peeled and chopped into 2/3 -inch/1.5cm dice
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 oz/15 g fresh mint
- scant 1 oz/25 g flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon dried mint
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup/60 ml olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
- 2 tablespoons cider or white wine vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sumac or more to taste, to garnish
If using yogurt and milk, start at least 3 hours and up to a day in advance by
placing both in a bowl. Whisk well and leave in a cool place or in the fridge
until bubbles form on the surface. What you get is a kind of homemade buttermilk, but less sour.
Tear the bread into bite-size pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Add
your fermented yogurt mixture or commercial buttermilk, followed by the rest
of the ingredients, mix well, and leave for 10 minutes for all the flavors to
Spoon the fattoush into serving bowls, drizzle with some olive oil, and garnish generously with sumac.
As Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi write in the introduction to Na’ama’s Fattoush in Jerusalem: A Cookbook, there is no escaping chopped salads in Jerusalem. Some are simple amalgamations of tomato, cucumber, onion, and lemon vinaigrette, while others, like Arab fattoush, contain a cornucopia of vegetables mixed with leftover pita bread.
This version comes from Tamimi’s family and has the tangy addition of homemade buttermilk dressing. Even made with less-than-perfect November tomatoes, Na’ama’s Fattoush is vibrant, crunchy, chewy, herbaceous, and creamy all at once.