Fattoush recipe

fattoushby Heidi Krahling of Insalata’s of San Anselmo

Fattoush is a refreshing and crisp Middle Eastern bread salad with a bright lemony vinaigrette. At Insalta’s is has been one of the most popular items on the menu since we opened our doors. On any given day you can walk through the dining room and see dozens of people enjoying the addictive combination of cucumber and mint, Kalamata olives and sheep’s milk feta cheese. People crave this salad are so loyal to it that I keep it on the menu year-round. The ingredients are easy to find and assembling the dish is quite simple. The addition of poached or grilled chicken makes for a perfect lunch or light supper.

Vinaigrette:

  • 1/3 cup canola or grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted and ground
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Salad:

  • 3 hearts of romaine, torn roughly by hand (almost 8 cups)
  • 3/4 cup crumbled sheep milk’s feta cheese
  • 3/4 cup vine ripened cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3/4 cup peeled and diced cucumber
  • 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped mint
  • 2 pita breads

To make the pita chips: Trim the edges off of the pita breads, keeping a circle shape; split horizontally into two halves. Cut each half into 6 triangles; arrange on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until golden, dried and crispy, about 12 minutes; let cool. Break the chips into large pieces.

To make the vinaigrette: In a small skillet, over low heat, gently warm the canola or grapeseed oil and garlic until fragrant. This is an extra step but well worth it if you have time. In a medium bowl whisk together the canola or grapeseed oil and garlic mixture, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt, cumin and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

To serve: In a large bowl, combine the romaine hearts, pita chips, feta, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, olives, red onion, cilantro, mint and 3/4 cup of the vinaigrette; toss well, adding more vinaigrette if needed to coat the leaves. Divide the salad among 3 or 6 chilled salad plates. Serve immediately. Serves 6 as a side dish, 3 as a light lunch.