Na'ama's Fattoush from 'Jerusalem'

[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.

Reprinted with permission from Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, copyright 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.

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Na'ama's Fattoush from 'Jerusalem'

About This Recipe

Yield:serves 6
Active time:30 minutes
Total time:40 minutes to 3 1/2 hours
This recipe appears in: Fattoush from the 'Jerusalem' Cookbook
Rated:

Ingredients

  • scant 1 cup / 200 g Greek yogurt and 3/4 cup plus 
2 tbsp/200 ml whole milk, or 1 2/3 cups/400 ml buttermilk (replacing both 
yogurt and milk)
  • 2 large stale Turkish flatbread or naan (9 oz/
250 g in total)
  • 3 large tomatoes (13 oz/
380 g in total), cut into
 2/3-inch/1.5 cm dice
  • 3 oz/100 g radishes, thinly sliced
  • 3 Lebanese or mini cucumbers (9 oz/
250 g in total), peeled and chopped into 2/3
-inch/1.5cm dice
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 oz/15 g fresh mint
  • scant 1 oz/25 g flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup/60 ml olive oil, 
plus extra to drizzle
  • 2 tablespoons cider or white wine vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground 
black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sumac or more 
to taste, to garnish

Procedures

  1. 1

    If using yogurt and milk, start at least 3 hours and up to a day in advance by
    placing both in a bowl. Whisk well and leave in a cool place or in the fridge
    until bubbles form on the surface. What you get is a kind of homemade buttermilk, but less sour.

  2. 2

    Tear the bread into bite-size pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Add
    your fermented yogurt mixture or commercial buttermilk, followed by the rest
    of the ingredients, mix well, and leave for 10 minutes for all the flavors to
    combine.

  3. 3

    Spoon the fattoush into serving bowls, drizzle with some olive oil, and garnish generously with sumac.

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