[Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin]

As Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi write in the introduction to Na'ama's Fattoush in Jerusalem: A Cookbook, there is no escaping chopped salads in Jerusalem. Some are simple amalgamations of tomato, cucumber, onion, and lemon vinaigrette, while others, like Arab fattoush, contain a cornucopia of vegetables mixed with leftover pita bread.

This version comes from Tamimi's family and has the tangy addition of homemade buttermilk dressing. Even made with less-than-perfect November tomatoes, Na'ama's Fattoush is vibrant, crunchy, chewy, herbaceous, and creamy all at once.

Why I picked this recipe: Who could resist such a vibrant salad, especially when there's copious amounts of chewy bread involved?

What worked: Tangy, crunchy, and just a little sweet, this fattoush is a colorful surprise bite after bite (not to mention a total breeze to make).

What didn't: I would have liked more fresh mint and a little less buttermilk in the dressing (not all of it soaked into the bread, so I was left with buttermilk soup at the bottom of the bowl).

Suggested tweaks: It'd be easy to swap in different mix-ins here. Shredded carrot would be a nice addition and diced fuyu persimmon would be a great substitute for tomatoes during winter months. Be sure to keep the proportions the same though; the proportion of bread-to-veg is already pretty perfect.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Jerusalem: A Cookbook to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer out of Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American and blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.


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