Are you fattoush obsessed yet? With the star power of Ottolenghi and Middle Eastern dining having a major moment in Toronto, it seems everyone is racing out to find the chewiest charcoal-fired pitas and accompanying photogenic hummus swirl.
My first fattoush was in a quick-serve Lebanese restaurant with my dad in Hamilton. Crunchy bits of garlic pita was a revelation between the vinegar-soaked lettuce leaves. The spices were unfamiliar; herbaceous, bitter and sweet. The salad somehow managed to scratch an itch of craving, while feeling incredibly light and refreshing.
I created this summer-ready version of fattoush to celebrate that original salad, aswell my new fondness for grilling.
After years of staying away from the fire, this summer I finally feel at home next to the grill, face burning, hands sticky. It turns out all I needed was a little guidance on how to light the damn thing (every barbecue has its quirks), and then google helped with the rest (praise food blogs!).
Whether you’re new or a seasoned grill master, halloumi is a good place to start because it’s quick and forgiving. One thing to note is to make sure your slices are thick (1/2 inch) so the halloumi can get striking grill marks without melting completely into the grill (a heartbreaking mistake I made years back).
The rest is easy, just chopping and tossing and tasting. I hope you love it – it’s the perfect salad to share with friends in the unbearable heat.
- 1 Block Halloumi Cheese (160-200 g) cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 3 6-inch pitas (or equivalent) cut in quarters
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large romaine heart, roughly chopped
- 3 mini cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 4 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1 cups cauliflower, cut into 3-inch pieces and then shaved thinly
- Handful fresh basil, mint or parsley, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup olive oil or grapeseed oil (something on the lighter end)
- 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
- 1/2 tsp tamari (optional but I like it)
- 1/4 tsp sumac, pinch oregano, 1/2 tsp salt and a few cracks black pepper
- 1 tbsp water.
- In a large bowl, add all of the chopped veggies; romaine, cucumber, radishes, cauliflower. Set aside in the fridge while you prepare the rest of your recipe.
- In a jar or medium bowl, add all of the salad ingredients. Shake or whisk well to emulsify. Taste and add more water, oil, salt or lemon (depending on the flavour of your exact ingredients). Set aside.
- Preheat your grill to medium high. Make sure the grates are clean and oiled.
- Meanwhile, set the pitas out on a work surface and drizzle with 2 tsp olive oil. Sprinkle garlic and coat with your hands.
- Add halloumi to a plate and drizzle lightly with olive oil (just enough to coat).
- Place halloumi and pita on the preheated grill. Cook with a closed grill for about 2-3 minutes on each side. It's ready to flip when there are nice dark grill marks, but the halloumi isn't melting into the grates yet. Keep a close eye - the pitas will burn quickly.
- When cool enough to handle, roughly chop (or tear) grilled pita into bite sized pieces.
- Just before serving, in the bowl with veggies, add fresh herbs, pita and dressing. Toss well to coat. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
- Serve salad on a large serving plate with halloumi on top. Sprinkle with extra herbs if you like!
- Enjoy right away.
Using the Oven: If you're using the oven instead, preheat the oven to 450 F. Follow instructions for preparation and then bake halloumi for 6-8 min, until tender and golden. Bake pita chips for 3-5 min, until toasted and crisp.
Make Ahead: You can chop all veggies and make dressing ahead. Everything else should be done just before eating.