by Paula Wolfert
- 1 small green bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1/2 cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 cup chopped scallions
- 3/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh spearmint leaves
- 1 cup torn arugula leaves
- 1 cup coarsely chopped stemmed purslane
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed in a mortar with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. ground sumac
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 to 3 medium ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 2 large, brick-oven baked pitas, split, toasted, and broken into 1/2-inch pieces
Here is a wonderful tasting salad, based on a selection of glossy monochromatic green herbs, chopped and seasoned, then blended with crumbled toasted pita and fresh tomatoes. The addition of two special ingredients makes this salad a fattoush rather than merely a Middle Eastern version of Italian panzanella: fleshy-textured purslane and lemony sumac. Red ground sumac, available at Middle Eastern groceries or by mail order(http://www.kalustyans.com), infuses the salad with a delightful, slightly sour pungency and aroma.
In a large salad bowl, combine the pepper, cucumber, scallions, parsley, mint, arugula, and purslane. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, lemon juice, oil, sumac, salt, and pepper. Toss with the ingredients in the salad bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 3 hours. Ten minutes before serving, add the tomatoes and pitas; toss well. Season with additional salt and pepper.
Serves 6 to 8.
Originally published in Paula Wolfert’s The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean, Harper Collins, 1994.