By Ina, Barefoot Contessa Chef
Fattoush! Not only do I love to say it but I love to eat it! Fattoush is a Middle Eastern version of Italian panzanella. It’s a big salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, chick peas, feta, scallions, and chunks of pita bread with a bright lemon vinaigrette and lots of fresh herbs like mint and basil. On a hot summer night, all I need to do is grill some chicken or a steak and serve this salad in a big bowl for everyone help themselves. It’s so easy to assemble and the good news is, it’s even better made ahead- the pita soaks up the vinaigrette as the salad sits and becomes so moist and flavorful. You’ll just have to stop yourself from picking out all the vinaigrette-soaked pita!!
Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad (Serves 4 to 6)
Photo: Quentin Bacon
10 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1 pound ripe tomatoes, seeded, cored, and ½-inch-diced
1 hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded, and ½-inch-diced
1 can or jar (12 to 16 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup julienned fresh basil leaves
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup good olive oil
8 ounces good feta cheese, ½-inch-diced
Toasted pita bread, for serving
Place the scallions, tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, parsley, mint, and basil in a large salad bowl and toss to combine.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Pour the dressing over the salad, tossing gently to coat all the vegetables. Add the feta, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss gently. Serve the salad with the toasted pita bread.