For some, fattoush is all about the pita. For others, it’s about those beautiful persian cucumbers — the skinny, seedless variety that have finally found their way to farmers’ markets on the east coast. But if you ask me, especially in this season, fattoush begins and ends with excellent tomatoes. I use a mix of big, voluptuous heirlooms and the small, bursting red and yellow cherries. This week, I got my hands on some baby heirlooms in red, yellow, and a beautiful greenish purple, which made for quite the colorful salad. - Rivka —Rivka
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: Rivka is a healthcare consultant and food blogger living in Washington, DC -- and an all-star Food52er.
WHAT: A classic Middle Eastern salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, onion and pita -- all dressed up for the peak of tomato season.
HOW: Whisk together a bright, herby dressing, toss with sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, and pita. Let marinate for a half hour, then serve.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Rivka's dressing, tart with pomegranate molasses and spiced with mint and sumac, is the perfect outfit for gorgeous greenmarket tomatoes and cucumbers. We'll be making this salad until summer becomes fall. Note: If you want the pita to stay crunchy, add them in as a garnish just before serving. —The Editors
6 as a first course
For the salad
pieces good-quality pita bread
Salt and pepper
big heirloom tomatoes of different varieties, such as red, purple cherokee, green zebra, and yellow
pint cherry tomatoes, most flavorful you can find – I favor yellow ones -- halved
3 or 4
Middle Eastern cucumbers, halved lengthwise and sliced into chunks
Preheat the oven to 350° F. If pita is pocket-style, slice open. Put in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, and sprinkle with sumac, salt, and pepper. Bake pita 15 to 20 minutes, until crisped. Alternative: If it’s too hot to turn on the oven, you can just slip the pita slices in the toaster and toast until crisped. Remove toasted pita from oven or toaster, and break into uneven bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
Set aside a bowl for making the dressing; as you slice tomatoes, you’ll add the collected juices to the bowl. Rinse and dry large heirloom tomatoes delicately. Halve tomatoes, then slice each into 2-bite wedges, taking care to reserve the collected juice and transfer it into the dressing bowl. Halve cherry tomatoes. Transfer all tomatoes to large, shallow bowl or rimmed serving platter. Add cucumbers, red onions (if using), scallions, mint, and parsley to the salad bowl, and carefully incorporate without smushing tomatoes. (That’s a technical term.) Add pita chips on top.
Make dressing: combine all ingredients except oil, and whisk to combine. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking as you pour to emulsify dressing. Drizzle dressing over salad, and let sit for 20 to 30 minutes before serving, tossing every 10 minutes or so to meld flavors.
I'm a healthcare consultant by day, food blogger by night, and I make a mean veggie chili. I'm eat a mostly-vegetarian diet, but have a soft spot for meat, especially braised short ribs. And this profile wouldn't be complete without an admission that I absolutely am addicted to cookies and chocolate. Finally, I love the idea of food52 and can't wait to share and read my and others' favorite recipes!