Salad bringing the world together

RECIPE: Jerusalem Pita and Chopped Vegetable Salad

Don’t you love food with a story? I found this story in my most recent Food & Wine magazine while on my flight to Atlanta last week. (side note: the only drawback of reading on a Kindle is you have to bring supplemental reading for under 10,000ft, right?) The story itself is just so interesting. Two men, both growing up in Jerusalem, only a few miles apart, but from two totally different worlds. There’s no way they would be friends unless they randomly found each other in another country all together. I thought this was especially interesting because the city they found each other in is the same that is hosting the World’s countries all together right now for the Olympics and Paralympics.

They’ve become successful together in the culinary world and just recently worked on a book together called Jerusalem. The cookbook collects recipes from their Palestinian and Israeli friends and families, and the article talks about how similar the food is in the two cultures.

One of the similar dishes these two guys found was a pita and chopped vegetable salad. Besides the human interest part of the story this recipe was attached to, this recipe was interesting to me personally because just last week I had a meeting with two Israeli men who were telling me that a common breakfast in Israel is a salad with cucumbers and tomatoes. And lo and behold, here was a recipe for it!

Back to the F&W story, these two men were surprised to find this similar dish from both of their households. However, the Arab man’s mother always included buttermilk in her chopped salad with pita, which the Israeli man thought was weird. So did I. First off, I think buttermilk has it’s place such as in baking, but in a salad? I was skeptical.

Turns out… buttermilk in a chopped salad is amazing. It’s not at all heavy and this salad was delicious. We ate it for dinner after a week of heavy eating in Atlanta made us crave vegetables, and I added some feta to the top for a little something extra. I could see this salad as a side for a Greek burger of some sort. It’s gorgeous and delicious, with the mint adding just that special something. I definitely suggest giving this one a try.

Pita and Chopped Vegetable Salad
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Recipe type: Salad
Author: Amanda N
Adapted from Food & Wine, September 2012
Ingredients
  • 1/4 C. extra virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tb fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tb white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp dried mint
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 large cucumbers, cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 5 roma tomatoes cut into 1 inch dice
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 C. torn parsley leaves
  • 2 Tb torn fresh mint leaves
  • 2 pitas or naan, toasted until crisp and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 C. reduced fat buttermilk
  • Feta for topping
Directions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk the 1/4 C. of olive oil with the garlic, lemon juice, vinegar and dried mint. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes, scallions, parsley and fresh mint. Add the torn pita, drizzle with the dressing and toss well. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add the buttermilk and toss again. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the salad with olive oil, sprinkle with feta if desired and serve.
Notes

The original recipe does not call for feta, but does call for a sprinkle of sumac on the top.

 

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