THE FRESH TASTE OF SPRING
Try tAngy sumAC or zA’AtAr to give your sAlAd some zip, soul some rest
During the month of Ramadan, observant Muslims perform daily fasts from dawn to dusk, breaking the fast with a meal (usually a light one) only after the sun sets.
Fasting is intended to cleanse the soul, allowing Muslims to turn their attention inward, toward charity work and prayer, and away from material things.
One of the dishes on many tables in Levantine countries during Ramadan is fattoush. It may be served during the evening meal and is often part of the celebratory spread to mark the end of the month of abstinence.
Many countries have a version of fattoush. As with many crosscultural dishes, researching the different varieties is both fun and slightly exhausting.
There’s always some type of flatbread, such as pita, and tomatoes and cucumbers. But then ... lettuce or no lettuce? Vegetables sliced or diced? Radishes? Peppers? Lemon or lime juice? A bit of sweetener? Sumac? Choices to be made.
Mince your garlic as much as you can to form a paste so that it really blends into the dressing.
I used a little pomegranate syrup in my dressing because I had a bottle lying around (which I realize is not normal for many cooks). Use honey if you are not as ingredient-nerdy as I am (or you can find the syrup online or in a specialty foods store).
Sumac is a spice made from berries that grow wild on bushes in Lebanon and other countries in the region. It’s a classic fattoush seasoning. The flavour is tart and tangy.
You could use that instead of the za’atar, which is a lovely, tangy and earthy combination of sumac, thyme, sesame and marjoram (sometimes cumin), and is often easier to find in supermarkets.
Fattoush can easily be made at home and is a perfect light meal to break a fast.