Here is my perfect bread salad combination, taking a little bit from each tradition and combining them into what I sometimes jokingly refer to as “patouche” or “fanzanella.”
This should really just be considered a road map, and substitutions should be freely used and explored: different kinds of toasted hard bread; different herbs; different kinds of onions; et cetera. It all depends on what you have on hand and what you like. —Sara Jenkins
really fresh big beefsteak tomatoes (ideally picked in your backyard or from the farmers market)
mixed cherry tomatoes
small head romaine lettuce
red wine vinegar
extra-virgin olive oil
French sheep's milk feta cheese
whole basil leaves
Break the toasted pita into shards and place at the bottom of a serving bowl. Dice the tomatoes and layer over the bread shards with a pinch of salt to start pulling out the juice.
Peel and dice the cucumber and add on top of the tomatoes. Dice the radishes and slice the scallions thinly and add to the bowl. Cut the romaine in half, core, and then cut into fat 1 1/2- to 2-inch ribbons. Sprinkle the sumac over everything.
To make the dressing crush the clove of garlic with the sea salt, add the vinegar, then whisk in the olive oil. Dress the salad and toss. Let it all sit so the flavors meld for about 15 minutes, then sprinkle with the crumbled feta cheese, fold in the basil, and serve.
This is a great salad for advance preparation, as it really just gets better the longer it marinates. Some people in my family even like the leftovers the next morning for breakfast!