One of my favorite summer salads  is Fatoush, a Middle Eastern bread salad made with pita and a savory blend of cherry tomatoes.  cucumber, mint, cilantro and parsley. It makes a perfect dinner on a hot night, and it gets a little kick from the zahtar, an aromatic herb and spice blend used widely in the Middle East. You can order fresh zahtar from a Petaluma company called Whole Spice, which sources premium herbs and grinds it all fresh.  (  This recipe is adapated from a recipe by Ana Sortun prepared at  the 2003 Worlds of Flavor International Conference at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena. 


Makes 8 portions

3 pita breads, torn into small pieces

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 English cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded and cut into small dice

24 ripe cherry tomatoes

1/2 cauliflower, stemmed and broken into tiny florest

1 sweet onion, finely chopped

8 radishes, quartered

1 small bunch cilantro, washed, sprigged and roughly chopped

1 small bunch parsley, washed, sprigged and roughly chopped

1 small bunch mint, washed, sprigged and roughly chopped

For dressing:

2 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste with a pinch of salt

1 lemon, juiced

2 teaspoons Zahtar (spice blend made with thume, sesame, salt and sumac)

8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss pita in olive oil until coated thoroughly. Lay on a baking sheet and toast in the oven, about 8 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.

For the dressing, combine all the ingredients and taste for seasoning. About 5 minutes before serving, crush the toasted bread into small pieces and combine wiht the vegetables.

Toss the salad with the dressing until everything is combined and well coated. Serve with tahini and yogurt, if desired.