Middle Eastern Bread and Summer Vegetable Salad
In the Mediterranean, nothing is thrown away, not even stale bread. Instead it's tossed with cucumbers, tomatoes, green onions, parsley, mint, sumac (an astringent dark magenta crushed berry), and vinaigrette to make a delicious salad the Syrians call fattoush.
1 hothouse cucumber, peeled, seeded, 1/4-inch dice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 2 lemons
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 green onions, green and white, thinly sliced
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or coriander leaves
2 large or 4 small loaves pita bread, toasted or stale, torn into rough 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon sumac (optional)
Black olives (optional)
Salt the cucumber and let drain 30 minutes. Rinse under cold water and dry well.
Whisk half of the lemon juice, garlic and olive oil together in a small bowl. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Combine the vinaigrette with the cucumbers, tomatoes, green onions, parsley, mint and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
Place toasted or dry bread in a salad bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining half of the lemon juice and let sit 5 minutes. Add the vegetables and vinaigrette to the bread and mix well. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Sprinkle the sumac onto the top. Garnish with black olives and serve immediately.