Fattoush, Tabbouleh and Wild Thyme Salad
Fattoush is made with chopped lettuce—typically romaine—with cucumbers, tomatoes, onion and wild thyme leaves, dressed with pomegranate vinaigrette and sumac and topped with crunchy croutons made from flatbread. Additions such as green onion and green bell pepper are common.
Tabbouleh must be the most contentious food in Lebanon: everyone has an opinion about the ratios of herbs, the doneness of the bulgur, and the amount of lemon juice used, and everyone is right. Suffice it to say, then, that this world-famous salad is mostly finely chopped parsley with a bit of mint and diced tomatoes, green onions, bulgur wheat for texture, lemon juice and olive oil. It’s served in a large bowl with cabbage and romaine leaves on the side—use these to scoop up the salad and enjoy the added crunch.
And while good tomatoes are available year round in Lebanon, look for the outstanding mountain tomato. Often comically huge, these delicious tomatoes pack as much robust heirloom flavor as a fresh San Marzano. They make a superb summer starter served in thick slices with crushed garlic and olive oil, and fresh herbs.
Wild Thyme salad is—you guessed it—made with fistfuls Lebanese thyme leaves, rocca and purslane, as well as any number of other local vegetables, dressed with various vinaigrettes and sumac.