Tuesday, 20 August 2013

.....Part 2 Born again bread


If you remember in my previous post I re-invented  Panzanella,maybe not re-invented but introduced its elements into another time and another place - Portugal.
In this second instalment I am taking you to the Middle East where Fattoush, the Lebanese bread salad, is an essential.Have you ever made it?  If not, I recommend making some immediately - it's a simple,toasted bread salad, and a brilliant way to get to know the gorgeous Middle Eastern flavouring of Sumac. Begin by toasting split-open pitta bread in the oven until crisp, then break into shards. Mix chopped cucumber, tomato, spring onion and radish, and toss with a few salad leaves some torn mint and flat-leaf parsley. Scatter the crisp bread pieces over the top, then sprinkle over a dressing made with equal quantities of lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil mixed with one to two tablespoons of crushed sumac. "Serve with mezze dishes, or at a barbecue" the recipes always say. So why hasn´t Portugal (nation of chefes churrasqueiros  and serious bread eaters) not adopted their own version of this stunning salad? In Portugal bread is served with, but never in, salad.Well, since I had this on my up-coming list of blog posts along came an episode of Nadia G´s Bitchin´Kitchen that gave me an idea of how I could put a new spin on Fattoush.
She has been hailed  “Julia Child of the Net generation.” cooking with chutzpah while talking Broccolinese (Little Italy slang language)."Cah-peesh?"- I think you will when you read on.Well, I have become an ardent follower.Giosia is her family name and an unmitigated effrontery of food is her game.Have you no respect woman? no of course you haven´t -You nerrrrrrrdddd- I love it.
Hilarious, edutaining and deliciously demented,the Chef-comedienne Nadia G. looks at the funny side of everyday situations and turns them into occasions worth celebrating — with food! From 'Recession Recipes' and 'Impressing the In-laws' to 'Break-up Brunches,' Nadia G. rocks the kitchen with her tasty techniques and stiletto-sharp wit.Her 30 minute slots put a deliciously demented spin on cooking and give you pure theatre and great edutainment, shkoffing and cooking with chutzpah.
Back to bread salad and with a litle bit of me and little bit of G I came up with a kind of Portuguese / Lebanese riff on Panzanella.I watched her prepare a Mshalale salad with blueberries and shards of toasted pitta bread. I had no chance of sourcing Mshalale cheese so I popped to Lidl and picked up some Feta.I was recently given some dried cherries and thought this was a good chance to introduce them,so I brined them ( Middle Eastern influence being included, like it) and  replaced Nadia´s blueberries with my cherries.My salad was now becoming delightfully cosmopolitan.I couldn´t source Pitta bread so I made some thin Melba toast with some left over bread,after all bread salads are all about yesterday´s bread.Finally I made Nadia´s zippy lemon dressing to finish it all off.Thats a modern Vinaigrette you nerrrrddd. At this point I had probably also given Claudia Roden  conniptions.“Now that we’ve got all our ingredients lined up, Tsaketa! Let’s get cooking....

A Middle Eastern salad with Feta cheese melba shards and salted cherries

The salad


1/2 lebanese cucumber peeled quartered lengthways and then cut into chunks
2 vine tomatoes cut into chunks
1/2 red onion
Handful fresh mint leaves,torn
Handful fresh parsley leaves,torn
Handful fresh coriander leaves (optional)

1/2 cup dried cherries reconstituted in salty water
1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled
Sumac for generous dusting
To make the salad:.Place all the  leaves in a bowl with the cucumber, tomatoes and crumbled cheese. Crumble tshards of the bread over the salad and drizzle with the lemon dressing. Sprinkle with a handful of sumac and the re-hydrated cherries.

The bread element

Split open Pitta or a few slices of yesterdays bread sliced thinly
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Flor de sal and freshly ground pepper
pinch hot piri piri flakes
To make : Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Brush the pita bread or bread slices with extra-virgin olive oil and the lemon juice. Sprinkle with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and piri piri flakes. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, until golden and crispy.
i put mine in the oven after cooking dinner turned the oven off and left overnight.


ZippyLemon Dressing

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
Small pinch brown sugar
heapedteaspoon sumac
pinch piri piri flakes
Flor de sal and freshly ground pepper

To make the lemon dressing: In a jar combine all the ingredients. Shake to emulsify.

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