WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: This Middle Eastern salad is at its best when it combines fresh, flavorful produce with crisp pita and bright herbs. Many recipes eliminate excess moisture from the salad by taking the time-consuming step of seeding and salting the cucumbers and tomatoes. We skipped that process, favoring the crisp texture of the cucumber (the English variety, which has fewer seeds) and the flavorful seeds and jelly of the tomato. We fended off soggy bread by making the pita moisture-repellent, brushing its craggy sides with plenty of olive oil before baking. The oil soaked into the bread and prevented the pita chips from absorbing the salad’s moisture while still allowing them to take on some of its flavor. A fresh, summery blend of mint, cilantro, and peppery arugula comprised the salad’s greenery and a vinaigrette of lemon juice, garlic, salt, and olive oil lent it an uncomplicated, bright finish.

Pita Bread Salad with Tomatoes and Cucumber (Fattoush)


The success of this recipe depends on ripe, in-season tomatoes. A rasp-style grater makes quick work of turning the garlic into a paste.

2 (8-inch) pita breads
3 tablespoons plus ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon garlic, minced to paste
1 pound tomatoes, cored and cut into ¾-inch pieces
1 English cucumber, peeled and sliced ⅛-inch thick
1 cup arugula, chopped coarse
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ cup chopped fresh mint
4 scallions, sliced thin

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Using kitchen shears, cut around perimeter of each pita and separate into 2 thin rounds. Cut each round in half. Place pita bread, smooth side down, on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Brush 3 tablespoons oil over surface of pita. (Pita does not need to be uniformly coated. Oil will absorb and spread as it bakes.) Season with salt and pepper. Bake until pita is crisp and pale golden brown, 10 to 14 minutes.

2. While pita toasts, whisk lemon juice, garlic, and ¼ teaspoon salt together in small bowl. Let stand 10 minutes

3. Place tomatoes, cucumber, arugula, cilantro, mint, and scallions in large bowl. Break pita into ½-inch pieces and place in bowl with vegetables. Add lemon-garlic mixture and remaining ¼ cup oil and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

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