August 29, 2010
Toronto is a great food city, both for eaters and for home cooks. Not only do we have restaurants serving up every type of cuisine imaginable, but there are hundreds of markets across the city where you can buy just about anything you want, to make anything you want.
This fattoush salad is a great example of why Toronto is a great city to cook and eat in. Last weekend, Jeff and I spent the morning at the Brickworks Farmers Market, and I picked up these beautiful San Marzano tomatoes from Picton. They were the picture of tomato perfection, begging to be enjoyed in a gorgeous, fresh salad and I remembered I had bookmarked this recipe from the Fiesta Farms blog months ago. (Aside: Fiesta Farms, if you’ve not familiar, is the best grocery store in the GTA and easily tops the list of five reasons why Toronto is the best city to eat/cook in.)
An Arabic-style bread salad, the recipe is easy – chop up some tomatoes and cucumbers, bake some pitas. Throw in a tablespoon of sumac and finish with a sprinkle of salt, pepper and zataar. Wait a minute, sumac? Zataar? I certainly did not have these ingredients in my pantry; and to be honest, until I read the recipe I don’t think I had even heard of them before.
The tomatoes weren’t going to last forever, so Jeff and I set out for Kensington Market. Less than an hour later, we returned home with two small bags, one each of sumac and zataar. On the walk back we realized how lucky we are to live in a city where we have such easy access to what many would consider exotic ingredients.
As it turns out, I was right. This salad really was the best way to enjoy the tomatoes. Fresh, bright and full of flavour, I packed mine for lunch and enjoyed it on a grassy hill next to the ferry docks on the water’s edge — another great thing Toronto has to offer.
Adapted from Maia Filar, via Fiest Farms
2 large pitas (I used Pita Break flax pitas, my favorite)
6 medium ripe San Marzano or Roma tomatoes (or 3 large tomatoes), chopped
1 English cucumber, seeded and chopped
Half red onion, thinly sliced
Handful of fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
Handful of fresh mint, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon sumac
1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice from a lemon
Sea salt, fresh cracked black pepper and zataar to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Cut the pitas into squares. Toss with a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Spread pita squares onto a baking pan on a single layer and toast in the oven until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove pita from the oven and let cool.
3. Gently mix together tomatoes, cucumber, onions and herbs. Add olive oil, lemon juice and sumac, salt and pepper and mix well.
4. When you’re ready to serve, top with pitas and a sprinkle of zataar.