June 15, 2017
As soon as the first locally-grown greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers from the Cucumber Man show up in the produce section, I come up with as many ways as possible to eat them. Fattoush is a Mediterranean toasted pita salad that’s easy to assemble and makes the most of spring greens or romaine and those first pops of mint in the garden. Romaine is typical, as is cucumber, tomatoes and purple onion. You could also add feta—I like tossing in a handful of fresh cilantro. And instead of the usual croutons, you toast a pita from Byblos Bakery and then bash it up into the mix, adding a satisfying, toasty crunch. Balsamic vinegar or lemon juice and olive oil is an easy way to dress it, but I’ve fallen in love with Little Creek dressing from the Okanagan, and it’s a perfect fit here. It goes so well with lamb kebabs—I sometimes make them from scratch using ground lamb, or pick up the Sungold Lamb Tonight meatballs or marinated lamb kebabs from Innisfail, which could not be any easier to toss on the grill—and they cook in under ten minutes. They’re even more amazing with a quick tzatziki made with plain Bles-Wold yogurt, garlic and grated Cucumber Man baby cukes, which aren’t as juicy as the larger English cucumbers.
And for dessert, a Canada 150 Berry Cake, natch.
Feel free to play around with this basic salad—feta or olives make a tasty addition, or try grilling red peppers or thinly sliced zucchini and adding them to the mix. The pita can be toasted on the grill while you cook your lamb.
1 pita (white or whole wheat)
1-2 Romaine hearts, chopped
2 baby cucumbers, chopped or cut into ribbons
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 small purple onion, thinly sliced
a handful of fresh cilantro, Italian parsley or mint
1/3 cup olive or canola oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1-2 Tbsp. grainy mustard
1 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey
1 small garlic clove, finely crushed (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Brush the pita with oil, sprinkle with salt and bake on a baking sheet for 10-12 minutes, until deep golden and toasted. Let cool, then break apart into chunks.
Arrange the romaine, cucumber, tomatoes, purple onion and cilantro in a shallow bowl or on a platter. To make the dressing, whisk all the ingredients in a small bowl or shake them in a jar. Drizzle over the salad and serve immediately, passing extra dressing at the table. Serves about 6.
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