Slow Food Nation

This weekend over fifty thousand foodies are descending on San Francisco to attend the food event of the year, Slow Food Nation. There will be panels, tastings, cooking demos, book signings andof course dinners all over town.

As an long time member of Slow Food and one of the older generation of passionate Slow Food adherents, I am not fond of huge crowds and so I am not going to attend the music events in the great Meadow at Fort Mason.

I will however give a book talk at the Library store in Building C at 4 PM on Saturday and after thant will mosy on over to the Taste Pavilion where  I will be doing a cooking demo at 7:15 PM. The demos run every 20 minutes and are supposed to represent food that is good, clean and fair… but also very simple. I am going  to demo that old Square One Restaurant standard Fattoush, a Lebanese Bread salad made with toasted pita bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, red and green onions, mint, parsley and a romaine lettuce with a simple citrus dressing.

Here is the recipe from my new book – Mediterranean Fresh: A Compendium of Salad Meals and Mix and Match Dressings


Wait until the tomatoes are perfect, ripe and perfumed to make this salad. Fattoush is a Lebanese variation of tabbouleh, the classic Middle Eastern wheat salad, but instead of using bulgur, it uses toasted pita bread. Fatta means torn into pieces which is what we do with the bread.  I love the textures in this salad and would suggest, for full crunch effect, that you dress it just before serving time so the bread does not become soggy. Like tabbouleh  it typically takes a lemon and olive oil dressing, usually enhanced with lots of fresh mint and parsley.

Serves 6
4 large or 8 small whole wheat pita breads
2 1/2 to 3 cups diced tomato (½ -inch dice)
2 cups diced cucumber (peeled and seeded if necessary, ½ -inch dice)
½ cup very finely diced red onion
6 tablespoons finely chopped green onions, including tender green tops
½ cup chopped fresh mint
½ cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
4 cups loosely packed romaine lettuce strips (1 inch wide)
About 1 to 1 ½ cups classic citrus dressing
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Place the pita breads on a baking sheet and bake until dry, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and, when cool enough to handle, break into large bite size pieces.

In a small bowl whisk together the dressing and add salt and pepper to taste.

In a large salad bowl combine the tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, green onion, mint and parsley. With some of the dressing.  Then add the pita pieces, the romaine,and toss with the  remaining  dressing.


Basic Citronette or Lemon and Olive Oil Citrus Dressing
Citrus dressings are used all over the Mediterranean but especially in the Middle East and North Africa. They are used to dress leafy and chopped salads, cooked vegetables such as beets, fennel, favas, artichokes and bean and grain salads. Citrus dressings are particularly good on fruit salads, salads with strong cheese components, and salads that are served with wine. They are ideal for seafood salads and raw fish dishes and may be spooned liberally over cooked fish and seafood as a finishing sauce. In Greece the simple mixture of olive oil and lemon juice is called ladolemono.

Yield- ¾ cup
8 tablespoons mild and fruity extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Whisk all together in a bowl.

2 thoughts on “Slow Food Nation

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