The ubiquitous bread salad of the Middle East, similar to the Italian panzanella graces the table at almost every meal. Traditionally made with toasted or fried Arabic flatbread, but pita bread or two-day-old sourdough works just as well.
4 as part of a meze or 2 as a main meal
Less than 45 mins
5 Cos lettuce leaves, washed and dried
3 Lebanese cucumbers or 1 large English
500g ripe but firm tomatoes
25g flat leaf parsley
15g mint leaves
50g purslane (optional)
1 small red onion
1 teaspoon Wild Sumac, plus extra for sprinkling
1 clove garlic, crushed with sea salt
½ lemon, juiced
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Pomegranate molasses (optional)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 Khobez flatbreads
Olive oil, drizzling
To make the croutons
Preheat your oven to 160°C / Gas mark 3. Spilt the flatbread open, drizzle with olive oil, massage until evenly coated. Season with flaked sea salt and Za’atar. Bake for about 10 mins or until crisp and golden in colour. Leave to cool, then break into shards.
For the dressing
Crush the garlic clove with a pinch of salt and put in a small jar with the lemon juice, white wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Season salt and black pepper, shake well and leave to infuse until you are ready to serve the salad.
For the salad
Finely slice the red onion, transfer transfer to a small bowl, season with the sumac and rub well and leave to one side. Cut the cos leaves crossways into 2-3cm strips. Cut the tomatoes into irregular chunks. Cut the cucumber (deseeded if the large variety) into rough 1.5cm dice. Thickly slice the radishes. Pick the leaves of the purslane and the herbs and leave whole. Combine all the salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl apart from the sumac
Add the sumac onions to the other salad ingredients, pour over the dressing, add the shards of Za’atar croutons, mix everything together gently, and serve straight away with a final sprinkle of sumac.
Recipe by James Walters, self-taught chef and founder of Arabica.