New Middle Eastern Food
Mark Roper

This simple garden salad is a handy way to use up stale pieces of Arabic bread. It is most delicious when the bread is fried, but you can also toast or grill it.


Quantity Ingredient
2 teaspoons ground sumac
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium purple onion, sliced
4 cos lettuce leaves, washed and dried
4 radishes, thickly sliced
2 ripe but firm tomatoes, roughly diced
2 lebanese cucumber, cut into chunky dice
1/3 cup roughly chopped mint leaves
or 1 tablespoon dried mint
1/2 cup roughly chopped parsley leaves
1/2 cup purslane, (if available)
1 piece arabic flatbread
60g butter
60ml olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed with 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lemon, juiced
40ml extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar


  1. Soak the sumac in cold water for a few minutes and remove any husks or uncrushed berries that float to the top. Add the sumac, allspice and pepper to the sliced onion, and rub it in well. Cut the cos leaves crosswise into 3 cm strips. Place them in a large salad bowl with the radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers and all the herb leaves.
  2. Split the bread open and cut it into rough 2 cm triangular shapes. Melt the butter and oil in a frying pan until they are foaming and fry the bread in two batches until it is golden brown. Remove it with a slotted spoon and drain it on paper towel. Mix the garlic paste with the lemon juice. Whisk together the extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar.
  3. When you are ready to serve, add the spiced onions to the other salad ingredients, add the lemon–garlic mix and stir well. Finally, pour over the dressing, add the pieces of fried bread, mix everything together gently and serve straight away.
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