My wife lived in the middle east for a while, but even she thought that the dressing for this delicious chopped salad was unusual. One bite and she was converted though, the combination of buttermilk, vinegar and oil is rich, unctuous and delicious. I’m on a roll with Yotam Ottolenghi’s “Jerusalem” at the moment, and food like this is the reason why.
You can use bought (or made) buttermilk for this recipe, or you can mix whole milk and Greek yogurt (as detailed below) for a similar, less sour, version. This recipe uses both fresh and dried mint; they have very different flavours and contribute to the dance that this salad does on your taste buds.
Image credit: Jonathan Lovekin
RECIPE serves 6
200g Greek yogurt and 200ml full-fat milk (or 400ml of buttermilk)
2 large stale Turkish flatbread or naan (250g in total)
3 large tomatoes (380g in total), cut into 1.5cm dice
100g radishes, thinly sliced
3 Lebanese or mini cucumbers (250g in total), peeled and chopped into 1.5cm dice
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
a bunch of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 tbsp dried mint
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp lemon juice
60ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
2 tbsp cider or white wine vinegar
3/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sumac or more according to taste, to garnish
If using the yogurt and milk method, then at least three hours beforehand (or the day before, for a more rounded flavour) place both in a bowl and whisk well to combine. Cover, and leave in a cool place (or in the fridge) to develop. Little bubbles should eventually form on the surface.
Tear the bread into bite-sized pieces and place in a very large bowl with the yogurt/milk (or buttermilk) mixture, followed by the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and leave for between ten and thirty minutes at room temperature for the flavours to mingle.
To serve, drizzle over a little more extra-virgin olive oil and garnish generously with sumac.