Fattoush My Bagel

Use Bakehouse bagels for a twist on a classic salad

We miss bringing in special guests to BAKE! in-person, so, throughout this year, in addition to virtual classes and events, we’re bringing chefs, authors, and friends of the Bakehouse to your kitchens via recipes that use Bakehouse breads or freshly milled flours, or that put their own spin on one of the recipes found in our cookbook or cookbooklets.

This month, we’re welcoming award-winning cookbook author Cathy Barrow:

Sesame St bagels croutonsIt’s not often I have leftover bagels. But writing a book about bagels changed all that. Before I began writing Bagels, Schmears, and a Nice Piece of Fish (Chronicle, coming February 2022), there were never any bagels languishing after Sunday brunch. 

When I was recipe testing, I was baking 12 to 15 dozen bagels a week. The sheer volume meant I needed to be clever. I made sandwiches, sure. I froze the bagels until my freezer door refused to close. I dropped them on friends’ porches. After 15 weeks of baking, even my dearest friends cried Uncle. 

And that when I began to adorn my salads with bagels. I sliced bagels* into coins and tore them into ragged chunks and slivered them into chips before toasting them for the most flavorful croutons ever. Seeded bagels and flavored bagels come with their own built-in flavors. Enhance or complement those flavors with herbs, spices, cheeses, and more. 

The fattoush salad, in one form or another, is a familiar presence on mezze tables across the Middle East, Turkey, and North Africa. I make it all summer with the abundance of tomatoes, cucumbers, and fresh herbs from the garden. A variety of tomato sizes and colors makes the salad particularly inviting. The classic addition of pita toasts, torn pieces of crisped pita, is replaced here with bagels, sliced into coins, and lightly toasted. I recommend using Zingerman’s Bakehouse Sesame St, Sea Salt, or Roasted Garlic bagels for this recipe. Let the salad sit for a few minutes before serving to allow the bagel chips to soften and the dressing and tomato juices to mix. The dressing and the bagel croutons may be made 1 day in advance. Refrigerate the dressing and shake well before using.

bagel fattoush salad

Bagel Fattoush

Course: Salad
Servings: 4

Ingredients

For the dressing

  • 1 Tbsp ground sumac soaked in 1 Tbsp water for 15 minutes
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

For the croutons

  • 2 Zingerman's Bakehouse bagels, sliced into 1/2-in coins (see note above)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt, like Maldon
  • 1 tsp za'atar

For the salad

  • 1 1/2 lbs large, meaty, ripe tomatoes (about 4)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 large head leaf or butter or 2 or more Little Gem lettuces, meticulously washed and dried
  • 3/4 lb cucumber (about 3)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallion
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Instructions

  • To make the dressing, combine the sumac, lemon juice, and pomegranate molasses in a small jar with a lid. Use a Microplane to grate the garlic clove right into the jar. Add the sherry vinegar, salt, and pepper, cover the jar and shake well. Pour in the olive oil and cover and shake again until the dressing is emulsified. Set aside.
  • Make the croutons. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a medium bowl, use your hands to toss the bagel coins with the olive oil and salt. Scatter the bagel coins across the parchment. Bake for 8 minutes, until crisp and slightly golden. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with za’atar. Let cool.
  • Make the salad. Set a colander over a catch bowl. Chop the tomato into 1-inch dice, place in the colander, and add the salt. Toss well and allow the tomatoes to exude excess liquids for about 10 minutes.
  • Line a wide, shallow bowl with the lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces.
  • If the cucumber is very fresh and thin-skinned, use a table fork to scrape vertical lines down the length of the cucumber. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and make half-moon-shaped, 1/4-inch pieces with a decorative edge. If the cucumber has thick, bitter skin, peel before slicing. Add the prepared cucumber to the salad bowl.
  • Scatter the scallion, parsley, cilantro, and mint over the lettuce and cucumber. Then gather the tomatoes in your hands leaving any excess moisture behind and place the tomatoes on top of the salad. Crumble the feta over the top, scatter the bagel chips everywhere.
  • Shake the dressing again and pour it evenly across all of the ingredients. Mix the salad together (use your impeccably clean hands!) and let it rest for about 10 minutes so all of the flavors combine. Toss it once more and serve. Make sure every serving includes a spoonful of the juicy bits in the bottom of the bowl.

*On slicing bagels. Always use a serrated knife. Slice with the bagel placed flat on the cutting surface, not into your hand. Never slice a frozen bagel. If the bagel is very stale, tear it, don’t try to slice it. Coins are easier than chips unless you have a bread slicer. Be careful.

HUNGRY FOR MORE?

  • Find more recipes that we’ve shared on our blog, here.
  • Sign up for Cathy Barrow’s newsletter, here.
headshot of Cathy Barrow
Cathy Barrow
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Cathy Barrow is an award-winning author and knitter, traveler, cook, teacher, and gardener. Published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Serious Eats, Food52, and several other food publications, her books include Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry, Pie Squared, When Pies Fly, and Bagels, Schmears, and a Nice Piece of Fish (2022). Cathy believes in the power of home cooking and the stories that connect us to food, culture, home, friends, and family.

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