With the height of summer comes the very best tomatoes and cucumbers. Heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers have just started to grace the Black Cat farm booth. In celebration of their excellence, a slightly modified version of one of Eric’s recipes from his upcoming cookbook follows.
Consider using the Mandurian Italian heirloom cucumbers that the Black Cat farm grows for this dish. Round in shape, they are crunchy and sweet. You can skip the instruction to deseed the cucumbers because Mandurian cucumbers are not bitter.
Fattoush is a salad of grilled fresh pita, tomatoes, herbs, and feta cheese akin to the Tuscan panzanella salad but with a Middle Eastern feel. The cucumber yogurt adds a cooling freshness. This dish pairs well with thinly-sliced grilled lamb.
3 fresh pita breads
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt to taste
2 cups heirloom tomatoes, sliced
½ fennel bulb, shaved
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 small red onion, julienned
1 ½ cups fresh cilantro, chopped
½ cup fresh mint, chopped
½ cup basil, chopped
½ cup pitted kalamata olives, diced
Salt to taste
1 cucumber, seeded and grated
2 cups yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh mint, minced
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, minced
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1. Brush pita breads with oil and lightly season with salt. Grill over charcoal or wood fire until lightly charred, about 1 minute on each side. Tear pita into bite-sized pieces and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add tomatoes, fennel, feta, onion, cilantro, mint, basil, and olives, tossing well to
combine. Season to taste with salt.
2. In a small bowl, combine cucumber, yogurt, mint, parsley, stirring well to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add olive oil, stirring well to combine.
3. To serve, divide fattoush among four plates. Top each with cucumber-yogurt sauce. Serve immediately.
Mandurian cucumber photo: Courtesy of the photographer, Cynthia Torres.