Make Your Own Middle East Croutons
This is basically an Americanized version of croutons that uses up slightly stale pita bread, and blends the flavors from one of my favorite Arabian salads . . . fatoush. These are great to make ahead and store in an airtight container in your freezer. Then you have them on hand for Middle East salad night, or with a nice lentil puree soup.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the pita bread into quarter to half inch squares using a knife or pizza cutter. Put all the pita bread pieces into a rectangular baking dish or cookie sheet. The size of the batch will determine the size of the pan. You want to make sure the pieces don’t overlap too much so they can get crispy to an even degree. Toss the pita squares with enough olive oil to lightly coat. Then sprinkle fairly liberally with the sumac and toss again. You want a fair amount of sumac on each “crouton” to add appropriate color and flavor, but you don’t want to completely coat the pieces in this spice. Then, sprinkle lightly with sea salt and toss in as well. Spread the pieces evenly across the bottom of the baking pan and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly “crunchy-crisp”.
Cool and store in the airtight container. Use in a salad the same day, or store in the freezer for future use. These blend several flavors from the region into something that easily fits in with the Western style of “on the fly” cooking.
Photo by I Love Butter