Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Perfect Summer Shepherd's Salad

This has been one of those weeks I wish I could forget or, even better, start over. Ball up the paper and launch it into the trashcan or select all and press delete! Unfortunately, I have a deadline looming over me, baby girl is sick and our wonderful nanny is off for two weeks. Needless to say, my stressometer has boiled over and exploded.

However, one bright light this week was making my most cherished salad in the world: Shepherd's Salad or, in Lebanon, Fattoush. It consists of crunchy cucumbers, ripe tomatoes and thin slices of scallion with a healthy sprinkling of herbs including purslane which is nearly impossible to find at the grocery store, but is sold at my market by a wonderful man who seemed to forsee my week of hell when he laid out his goods last Friday. If you can find it, purslane has small delicate leaves and it's loaded with omega 3s and antioxidants.

Without further ado, here is a recipe you'll turn to again and again when you're bored of lettuce.

Shepherd's Salad (Fattoush)
(Crunchy vegetables, leafy herbs and tangy lemon dressing make for a glorious mixture of texture and flavor. To step it up a notch, toast some pita bread, break it up and sprinkle it over top. You just might die and go to salad heaven.)

What You'll Need:

For the Salad -
3 large tomatoes chopped into bite sized cubes
4 small to medium cucumbers also chopped into bite sized cubes
3 scallions sliced thinly
2 cups purslane, mint and Italian parsley leaves (equal parts)

For the Dressing -
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp zaatar spice (optional)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

In a large bowl combine salad ingredients. Then in a sealable jar, combined dressing ingredients. Close the lid and shake. Pour a generous amount of dressing over the salad, I usually do 4-5 tablespoons, toss and serve. While most lettuce salads won't keep, Fattoush will keep in the fridge for a day or two. However, it is best the first day!

Approximate Dinner Cost
• Groceries - $12.00
• Leftovers – Expect 8 servings or less as it's so healthy and tasty, you won't feel guilty pigging out on it. Yes, you will actually pig out on this salad. All told, it's around $1.50 per serving.

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  1. purslane, mint, and Italian parsley sounds like a great flavor combination. what vegetable would work other than tomatoes, I wonder?

  2. Sorry you had such a bad week. This salad looks so good. I love cucumbers and tomatoes together and I am happy to find this. I'll have to make it tonight!

  3. My garden is overflowing with mint (and not much else) so I'll have to give this a try. I do have some extra zucchini--do you think that would work to add too?

  4. Thanks everyone!

    Other than tomatoes? I am trying to think of other veggies. Maybe grilled eggplant or, like Readymom was thinking, grilled zucchini. Really, I imagine any summer veggies would do well and the dressing is so versatile and fresh. Just try to vary the textures to get a well rounded flavor profile.

  5. Oh yum! This is one of my all-time favorite salads. I love zaatar!! It's been a while since I've made it, so I think I need to try your recipe! I hear ya on sick kids--my youngest (7 months old) is on her second round of antibiotics for an ear infection and sinus infection. No fun!! I hope next week is better for you!

  6. It's so nice to take time to cook, sometimes especially true when I'm having a bad day. I'll try this recipe -- looks yummy and easy!

  7. I think this might be one of my favorite salads ever. The taste is crisp and fresh. I'm keeping this recipe. It's going up on the frig.

  8. Zaatar is the best spice!! I can't get enough of it.

    Jen and Meredith, thank you so much for your lovely comments! On the frig.? So nice.

  9. I love the combo of cucumbers and tomato. In fact, I'm having them as part of my lunch today! Wish I had this salad though - it looks so great!

  10. This looks so good that I'll have to make it myself. But I detest scallions...any good substitute for those?


  11. Thanks, Sheryl. I think thinly sliced red onions would be lovely or sweet vidalia onions. Even chives would add a nice delicate little kick:)

    Although, if you're not an onion fan, it will taste great without them!

  12. This looks so good. I would love to try purslane and will look for it locally.

  13. Sounds fabulous, but I'm not holding my breath that I'll find any purslane down here in NZ. Any suggestions for a substitute?

  14. I have a bumper crop of cucumbers and was wondering what to do with them. I cannot find any zaatar on Cape Cod, but Pensey's Spices has it, so I will order some online.

  15. As I was munching on some purslane yesterday, I thought sorrel, a bigger delicate leaf with mild lemon scent would be a nice substitute. Otherwise, you can leave out the purslane and it will still be super tasty!



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