Whilst the word fattoush sounds rather like a sneeze, I can assure you the taste is far from it. In fact eating my fattoush could even help rid you of the sneezes!
I first tried fattoush in London Lebanese street food chain Yalla Yalla. Fattoush usually comes with pitta bread mixed in, but being a paleo bread-dodger I decided to be brave and ask if they’d make a version without gluten which they kindly obliged – thank you. My friend and I choose this along with a meze of other delicious dishes such as pan-fried chicken liver jewelled with pomegranates, spicy chicken wings, and Baba Ganoush.
I’ve found with many nationalistic dishes that as recipes get handed down from generation to generation and passed from region to region there is huge variety in preparing these dishes. The same can be said of fattoush. For example Lebanese Bethany from Dirty Kitchen Secrets uses romaine lettuce and purslane, whilst My New Roots prefers herbs as the salad base like me. I then turned to Yotam Ottolenghi and found another version again. There is also variation in the dressing – some with yoghurt, and some without. Taking all 3 as potentially legitimate variations I used a bit of artistic recipe licence and created my Paleo fattoush instead. Mine favours a mint & parsley base, with added radishes and pomegranate seeds – all particularly highly nutritious. The lemony herb and (also antioxidant) sumac is I gather, a non negotiable inclusion in the dish.
I made this as a deliciously fresh accompaniment to my beef and harissa stew.
Ingredients (serves 2-3 as a sole side dish)
- 16 cherry tomatoes, diced
- 8 radishes, thinly sliced
- 2 spring onions finely chopped
- Large handful of fresh mint and parsley, chopped
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Pinch of salt (Maldon) and ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds
- 1 tablespoon of sumac
- In a salad serving dish combine all above ingredients in order above minus the sumac – it’s that simple! Sprinkle sumac over final dish and serve.
Note – Bethany from Dirty Kitchen Secrets has since been in touch and explained to me a little more on the origins of fattoush. “Fattoush is derived from the Arabic root word “fata” which means to tear or crumble and as in this vegetable salad signals the use of bread, hence “fatt” in the beginning of the word “fattoush”. There is a whole host of dishes that belong to the “fateh” family, which are based on layering ingredients over bread crumbs”.
So – it’s not a technically a fattoush without the bread – just a herb salad – inspired by the fattoush combination. In my mind delicious either way. Thanks Bethany for the explanation – I should have done a little more research into the etymology!
I finished up this blog post at #blogbash – a live blogging event held last night by NuffnangX at the swanky The LUXE in London’s Spitalfields. Though owing to a technical hitch I’m pressing publish one day later… I chatted with some fabulously diverse – as in not just food! – bloggers & mostly felt terribly un-trendy sandwiched in between style bloggers Diary of a vintage girl & Notes by a stylist. Other bloggers I met included Country Mouse Claire, Cake over the world, Anastasia Bakes, Slow food Kitchen, Biteable Beauty & Into the F world. Great to meet you all – and hello to everyone else I didn’t get the chance to chat more to.