Spring Fattoush Salad with Sumac Pita Chips

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Serves 2 main course salads or 4 side salads | Start to finish: about 50 minutes

FattoushThis is a Pacific Northwest twist on Fattoush using produce we have in season. Sumac is a Middle Eastern spice which adds a citrusy and tangy flavor profile. Fresh mint and parsley make for a refreshing salad. Simply switch to summer vegetables once the season moves into summer. Sumac can be found at specialty spice shops such as World Spice Merchants, Penzy’s or ChefShop.com.

Sumac pita chips

2 (10-inch) pita pocket bread
2 tablespoons rice bran oil
1 teaspoon ground sumac
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Vinaigrette (makes about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
1/2 teaspoon ground sumac
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons fresh mint, finely chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
fine sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Salad

12 large asparagus spears
2 teaspoons rice bran oil
fine sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 hearts of romaine, cut crosswise into 1- to 2-inch pieces (about 8 cups)
3 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
3 green onions, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
4 large radishes, thinly sliced
8 large fresh mint leaves, chiffonade
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves

STEPS:

Heat oven to 375°F

For the pita chips: Split open the pita pockets by slicing along the outer edge with a knife or scissors, and separate the top and bottom halves. Cut each of the halves into 1-inch strips, then crosswise into 1-inch squares. Place the pita pieces in a large bowl; evenly coat with the rice bran oil, sumac, and fine sea salt. Spread out in one layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Do not over bake — you don’t want the pita to get too crisp. Cool pita chips a few minutes before tossing in the salad.

For the vinaigrette: In a small bowl whisk the lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, ground sumac, garlic, and mint. Gradually whisk in the olive oil until blended. Season to taste with fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

For the salad: Remove the tough woody ends of the asparagus by gently bending the end of each spear until it breaks. Place the asparagus on a baking sheet and evenly coat with the rice bran oil. Season lightly with fine sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Roast at 375°F for 12–15 minutes, or until lightly browned and tender. Cool. Cut into 2-inch pieces.

In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, celery, green onions, radishes, mint, parsley, roasted asparagus, and pita chips. Toss the salad with just enough of the vinaigrette to lightly dress. Serve salad immediately with additional vinaigrette on the side.

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