Recipe for fattoush (bread salad)

–Sally Pasley Vargas

Serves 6

The Middle Eastern salad fattoush, similar to Italian panzanella, is made with stale bread and tomatoes. Where the Italian version uses crusty bread, fattoush contains golden bits of pita, which absorb sweet tomato juices and a lemony dressing. Greens can range from sharp fresh parsley to bright mint, combined with scallions, radishes, and cucumbers. Use small Armenian cucumbers (which do not need peeling or seeding) if you can find them.

DRESSING

¼cup lemon juice½small clove garlic, finely choppedSalt and pepper, to taste⅓cup olive oil

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Set aside for 15 minutes to mellow the garlic.

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2. Gradually whisk in the oil; set aside.

SALAD

2rounds (7 to 8 inches) pita 3tablespoons olive oil3ripe tomatoes, cut into ½-inch pieces2Armenian cucumbers or 1 regular cucumber, sliced 4radishes, thinly sliced2scallions, thinly sliced1small bunch arugula, torn into bite-size pieces1cup stemmed fresh parsley leaves1cup stemmed fresh mint leaves

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Have on hand a rimmed baking sheet.

2. With scissors, cut along the outside of the pita rounds to separate them into 4 circles. Brush both sides with olive oil, and set on the baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Cool, and break into bite-size pieces.

3. In a salad bowl, sprinkle the tomatoes, cucumbers, and radishes lightly with salt and pepper. Add the scallions, arugula, parsley, and mint. Toss well.

4. Just before serving, add the pita bread to the bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss again. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper if you like. Sally Pasley Vargas

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