I could’ve walked down to my local shop and bought Lebanese bread for $1.50 to make my fattoush salad but I chose not to and decided to make my own Lebanese bread.
I recently learnt to make an Italian focaccia from scratch thanks to the teachings of Francesco Zarella who I met when he ran the old Panzerotti restaurant in the Sydney CBD. He didn’t only teach me how to make focaccia but I realised it was the foundation for making bread and once you understand that, you can make virtually any type of bread, including Lebanese bread. It also means you probably would be reluctant to buy bread once you know how to make your own. A valuable life skill. Anyway I had a craving for fattoush salad and I asked Mouhamad of MD Provodores, “What’s in a typical Lebanese fattoush?” “Cos lettuce, capsicum, radish, cucumber, tomatoes … and some batleh,” Mouhamad replies. “What’s batleh?” I asked. “It’s purslane”. I’m not sure if I have tried purslane before, I must have if I have eaten fattoush before at restaurants but I was probably not aware of what it looks and tastes like. This is what purslane looks like. It has moisture-rich leaves that are cucumber-crisp, and have a tart, almost lemony tang with a peppery kick.
I think it’s classified as an edible weed and it makes a difference when you add it to your fattoush salad. I read a few recipes (one was from Maureen Abood) in making fattoush and the crisp Lebanese bread and brought it all together to try and make what was close to authentic as possible. This is a salad I could eat every day! To make it quickly you could buy your Lebanese bread or if you want to enjoy the process of baking you can make your own Lebanese bread crisps and trust me it’s a lot more rewarding when you do.
Vegetables and herbs that you need:
Cos lettuce – 3 heart leaves
Radish – 2 thinly sliced
Cherry tomatoes – 1 cup halved
Cucumber – 2 seed removed and cut batton size
Mint – 1 cup leaves
Purslane (Batleh) – 1 cup of leaves
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 small clove garlic minced
3 table spoons extra virgin oliveoil
1 teaspoon sumac
Pita bread crisps
Instructions for the salad component
1. For the vinaigrette, in a small bowl whisk the lemon, pomegranate molasses, garlic, salt, sumac, and olive oil until it is thoroughly combined.
2. In your big salad bowl, combine all the veggies and herbs and pita chips. Dress the salad with the vinaigrette, tossing it to evenly coat everything. Dust the fattoush with the remaining Garlic Mint Salt and sumac, fresh mint, and serve immediately.
To make Lebanese bread that’s another recipe and project in itself but once you get it it’s easy to do. I’ll put up a recipe on making your own Lebanese bread soon.
Special thanks to MD Provodores for the produce to make my fattoush salad.