Dee –This is where we begin the process of catching up with the rest of the group, and we have gone back to January 2013, when the first featured ingredient, Sumac, was revealed.
We have both been keen on sumac for quite some time now. Its deep red colour and sharp citrussy taste can add an extra dimension to many savoury dishes. It appears in several recipes in the book, either as an ingredient on its own or as part of the za’atar spice blend.
The recipe that I have chosen to showcase it in is the magnificent Fattoush on page 29, where it is the final garnish to a colourful salad containing a mix of vegetables, bread and dressing.
There can be many different interpretations of Fattoush. Some are quite simple while others, such as this one, are more elaborate. The list of ingredients is quite long, and the salad can take a while to prepare, especially if your preference is for finely chopped ingredients, as mine is. But this work more than pays off as soon as the finished salad is first tasted.
When I make this, I make the whole quantity, which serves either 6 as a side dish, or 4 as a main course for lunch. I keep the dressing in a separate container to the dry ingredients, so that if there are any leftovers, there will be less chance of them going soggy. This isn’t something that should be left for any longer than one day as it is all about freshness, and it loses this quite quickly.The salad is assembled first by adding the bread to a bowl, followed by the dressing and then the vegetables. All of this is tossed together, and the sumac is then sprinkled over the top. It is thus given pride of place and allowed to show off its colour and retain its distinctive taste. A fine tribute to a fine spice.
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