Fattoush is a salad of crunchy vegetables and toasted bread eaten all across the Middle East. Every family or restaurant will have their own and this is ours. It's usually made with pita bread but we've given things a twist by using ciabatta instead and added some goat's cheese for a tangy creaminess that contrasts beautifully with the cool, refreshing veg. It might not be traditional but it is delicious!
Baby Gem Lettuce
Olive Oil for the dressing
Olive Oil for the croutons
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Peel and quarter the red onion. Put the onion wedges on a baking tray and drizzle on a little olive oil. Season with salt and roast on the top shelf of the oven for 20 mins. Turn halfway through to make sure they cook evenly.
Cut the root off the baby gem lettuce and separate the leaves. Chop the tomatoes into wedges. Chop the ends off the cucumber and quarter lengthways. Scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon then chop the cucumber into chunks at an angle. Put the lettuce, tomato and cucumber in a large bowl.
Pick the basil leaves from their stalks and set aside. Finely chop the stalks. Peel and grate the garlic (or use a garlic press). Zest and juice the lemon. Pick the mint leaves from their stalks and roughly chop (discard the stalks). Put the mint, lemon juice, lemon zest and sumac in a small bowl. Stir in the olive oil for the dressing (amount specified in the ingredient list), season with salt and black pepper and set aside.
Slice the ciabatta in half, as if making a sandwich, then in half again lengthways. Keep one quarter ciabatta strip per person whole and tear the remaining bread into 2cm pieces. Pop all the pieces on another tray and drizzle on the remaining olive oil (amount specified in the ingredient list), toss well then bake on the middle shelf of your oven until golden, 7 mins. When the onion is ready, take out and keep to one side.
Slice the goat's cheese into even rounds (three per person). Drain the chickpeas in a colander and rinse under cold water. Put a splash of oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Add the garlic and basil stalks. Cook for 1 minute then add the chickpeas. Warm through for 2 mins and remove from the heat. Roughly tear the basil leaves and mix through the chickpeas.
When the ciabatta pieces are golden, remove them from the oven and turn the grill to high. Add the toasted ciabatta pieces to the salad. Top each ciabatta strip with three rounds of goat's cheese. Place on the (now empty) baking tray and grill to melt the cheese, 1 minute. Toss the salad with half the dressing and divide between plates. Spoon on the warm chickpeas and finish with roasted onion wedges, a goat's cheese toastie and a drizzle of the remaining dressing. Enjoy!