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This is one of the most popular and adaptable of Lebanese salads. You can make it with whatever salad ingredients you have available as longas you use sumac (a tart powder produced from the crushed dried berries of the Rhus Coriaria bush) to give it its special lemony flavour. There are two basic recipes for fattosh: one where the herb leaves are used whole with the rest of the salad ingredients and another where these are coarsely chopped and shredded lettuce is added. Whichever variation you chose, it is important you select the herbs young and fresh as the overgrown ones may be too tough. Purslane can be found in Greek, Turkish or Lebanese shops in spring and summer, if it is not available use an equivalent amount of parsley. This salad is equally good without toasted bread for those who are on a restricted or gluten free diet, although technically it is no longer considered fattoush.

+ Ingredients

4 gem lettuces or 1 large cos lettuce (about 400 g)
1 bunch spring onions (100 g), trimmed and thinly sli
3 mini cucmbers (300 g), sliced in medium-thin half c
3 firm red tomatoes (300 g), chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 bunch flat parsley (200 g on the stalk), washed, dried, most of the stalks cut off and discarded, coarsely chopped
1/2 bunch mint, (100 g on the stalk), leaves only, coarsely chopped
1/2 bunch purslane (100 g on the stalk), leaves only
3 tbsp sumac
Salt to taste

6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil to finish

+ Method

1 medium pita bread, opened up, toasted and broken into bite-sized pieces. Strip and discard any outer damaged leaves of the lettuce, wash and dry the rest. Then cut across in 1 cm strips.

Put the shredded lettuce in a salad bowl. Add the rest of the salad ingredients. Sprinkle with sumac and salt to taste.

Add the olive oil and toss lightly together. Mix in the toasted bread and serve immediately before the bread goes soggy.