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Six O’Clock Solution: Fattoush salad with corn

This simple recipe for fattoush, the Lebanese salad with pita, is an example of "Israeli Soul" co-author Michael Solomonov’s careful interpretations.
This simple recipe for fattoush, the Lebanese salad with pita, is an example of “Israeli Soul” co-author Michael Solomonov’s careful interpretations.

Israeli Soul is the name of a handsome new cookbook and intimate food history of the Middle Eastern country.

Authors Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook, chef and co-owner respectively of Zahav, Philadelphia’s celebrated Israeli restaurant, have produced another outstanding cookbook (Raincoast, $50). Their first, Zahav (2016) was a prize-winner. The new book covers iconic dishes, formed as the Jews traveled the world, and part of a cuisine, as the authors put it, “that is both ancient and modern.”

Two useful pages tell how to make the spice blends and sauces that distinguish the cuisine. Travellers can take note of the addresses of the best public markets in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa. People, whether cooks, servers or happy consumers, are a major presence in the outstanding photographs and stories. Photographer Michael Persico’s shots are big and close-up, giving the impression you have taken an insider’s tour of the country.

This simple recipe for fattoush, the Lebanese salad with pita, is an example of Solomonov’s careful interpretations.

“Salad,” he writes, “is both a common denominator of Israeli cuisine and a celebration of its diversity.” The salad section includes eight “quick essential” salads, and goes on to such cooked varieties as Turkish eggplant, Arabic bean, dill tabbouleh, egg salad and pickled watermelon.

Fattoush with corn

Serves 4

2 fresh pita bread

Kosher or coarse salt

1 tablespoon (15 mL) canola or corn oil

1 red bell pepper

½ medium red onion

4 Persian cucumbers or 2 English hot house cucumbers

2 large, ripe tomatoes, or 2 cups (500 mL) cherry tomatoes

1 head Bibb or Boston lettuce

1 to 3 teaspoons (5 to 15 mL) Kosher or coarse salt, to taste

2 tablespoons (30 mL) fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons (30 mL) olive oil

½ cup (125 mL) corn kernels

½ cup (125 mL) chopped fresh herbs (mint, dill and flat-leaf parsley)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Have ready a baking pan coated with the canola or corn oil and sprinkled with salt. Cut pita bread into bite-size pieces, turn to coat with oil and salt, and bake in the preheated oven until golden brown and crisp, turning once, about 5 minutes.

Finely chop bell pepper. Cut onion in slivers. Coarsely chop or slice cucumbers and tomatoes. Tear lettuce into small pieces. Combine all vegetables in a large bowl.

When ready to serve, add toasted pita, turning to distribute. In a small bowl, combine salt, lemon juice, olive oil, corn and fresh herbs. Add to vegetables, turning to combine well.

Serve at once.

julianarmstrong1@gmail.com

By Julian Armstrong

Montreal Gazette

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019

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