Popular in the mountain areas of Lebanon, this salad is a meal in itself and you can vary the ingredients, because the dressins is so deliciously rich, that it binds everything together. I use aubergine and add pomegranate seeds or nuts.
For the dressing, you will need:
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses – this is available in most supermarkets, but failing that, you can find it in specialist shops or online. This is well worth keeping in the cupboard for salads or for cooking meat or chicken.
1 Lemon – use the grated peel and the juice.
100ml or a few good ‘glugs’ of extra virgin olive oil.
1 garlic clove, crushed or minced.
1 tbsp sumac – this is a dark, lemony spice that is used so much in Middle Eastern cooking.
1/2 tsp salt.
For the salad itself, you will need:
1 pitta bread
8 plum tomatoes or 2 handfuls of firm cherry tomatoes, seeds discarded and chopped into bite-sized pieces
A small aubergine, cut into bite sized cubes.
half a cucumber – peeled and cut into small but thick slices
A small romaine or gem lettuce – roughly chopped
A small handful or rocket or small spinach leaves
A handful or radishes – sliced
A handful of fresh mint leaves – chopped
A handful of fresh parsley leaves – chopped
A handful of pomegranate seeds (optional)
Olive oil to brush the pitta bread
What to do:
1. Make the dressing by putting all the ingredients into a clean, empty jar and giving it a good shake – as simple as that!
2. Turn on the oven (180-200 degrees celsius). Lay the aubergine cubes out on half of a baking tray and brush with olive oil – roast for 15 minutes. Turn them over and brush again.
3. Split the pitta bread, brush with olive oil and place on the other side of the baking tray. Put the baking tray in the oven for 10 minutes til golden, then remove. Once the bread is cool, tear it into smaller pieces.
3. Assemble the other salad ingredients in a large bowl, lettuce and leaves first, the aubergine, then cucumber, radish and tomato and finally pomegranate seeds (if using) and pitta bread.
4. To serve, pour over the dressing and toss gently. Mmm delicious!