Friday, 20 February 2015

Tasting Jerusalem #2 – Sumac

Na’ama’s Fattoush
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.

“Tasting Jerusalem is a virtual cooking community exploring the vibrant flavors and cuisine of the Middle East through the lens of Jerusalem by Ottolenghi and Tamimi published by Ebury Press. You can follow along and cook with us by subscribing to  following the hashtag #TastingJrslm on Twitter and Instagram, liking our Facebook Page or joining our Google+ Community and finally checking out all of our groups’ dishes on Pinterest

(Please note: I have listed the UK publisher and have linked to the UK Amazon site.  The US details are provided on the web site)


  1. I prepared this salad for the NY Times photo shoot - ingredient list can be daunting but like most of their recipes, if you break it down and get organized it's not really so bad AND the flavor results always seem worth the effort! Sumac is still one of my favorite ingredients we have covered. Just love the tang and the color.

  2. Thanks, I love sumac too. It's definitely one of my favourite spices.