Fattoush is the Middle Eastern answer to panzanella bread salad. Crispy pita; grilled, tender zucchini; velvety cheese; earthy lentils; lively herbs; and a vibrant tomato dressing come together in a composed salad that’s jumpy with attention grabbers. If halloumi is not available, some torn fresh mozzarella would be a good stand-in (just don’t try grilling it). Those who are watching their sodium intake can make the salad without olives.
In medium saucepan, place lentils and 3 cups (750 mL) water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to maintain a light simmer, and cook until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well.
Build a medium-hot fire in charcoal grill, or heat gas grill to medium and grease grill grates.
Upend halloumi and slice lengthwise into 2 slabs. Brush halloumi and zucchini with 1 tsp (5 mL) oil. Grill cheese until crispy in a few spots, about 3 minutes per side. When cool enough to handle, slice halloumi into 1/2 in (1.25 cm) cubes. Grill zucchini until tender and darkened in a few spots, about 4 minutes per side.
When cool enough to handle, slice zucchini into 1 in (2.5 cm) pieces.
Mix za’atar with 1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil. Spread on tops of pitas. Grill pitas until golden and crispy, about 1 minute per side. Be careful not to burn pitas. When cool enough to handle, break pitas into 2 in (5 cm) pieces.
Slice tomato in half and grate cut sides down to the skin with the large holes of a box grater. Discard skin and whisk grated tomato with remaining 2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive oil, vinegar, shallot, lemon zest, crushed red pepper flakes, and black pepper.
Cut romaine into 1 1/2 in (3.75 cm) thick rounds.
Place rounds on serving plates and top with lentils, zucchini, mint, parsley, radish, green onion, olives (if using), halloumi, and toasted pita pieces. Drizzle Tomato Vinaigrette overtop.
Say cheese: Halloumi is a remarkable salty cheese, as it doesn’t melt when sent to the flames. On the grill, the outside gets crispy and the inside turns tender. It’s the ultimate grilled cheese. Find blocks in Middle Eastern grocers and an increasing number of supermarkets.
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this roasted vegetable appetizer platter. High quality ingredients, a variety of textures and colours, fresh herbs, and a flash of lemon make it shine. Not all olive oils and balsamics are created equal Use your good, fruity, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil to accompany this appetizer platter, since the quality and flavour will shine through. You can use a more neutral and affordable olive oil for roasting the vegetables, if you prefer. As for the balsamic vinegar, use either an aged one that’s thick and sweet, or reduce a young balsamic in a small saucepan until thick, optionally adding a pinch of sugar to sweeten it (see the oyster mushrooms with caramelized parsnips recipe for helpful directions). A store-bought balsamic glaze that’s already been thickened works as well, but check the ingredients for unwanted preservatives and sweeteners.
Spooned over hearty fall greens such as kale or chard, this delicious side dish can also double as a main meal; its flavours absolutely pop with our zesty herb topping. The beets are packed with amazing nutrients, plus they’re delicious served hot, at room temperature, or cold. Add some crunch This dish is a meal in itself. Scatter toasted pine nuts or pecans overtop for some added crunch.
“One of my favourite stir-fry meals is broccoli beef, so when I found myself with several hundred pounds of Yukon Mountain caribou this past fall, I figured a ’bou backstrap would be an excellent game replacement,” says Cosco. “Paired with a side of rice, this quick game meal is ready to go.” Note to those afraid of cranking the heat: “The pan needs to be ripping hot to give an immediate sear,” says Cosco. Take a deep breath, and go for it. What’s backstrap? Backstrap comes from the caribou’s longissimus dorsi, the muscle that runs along the spine. Beef striploin would be a good substitution for the lean meat, says Cosco. The slices should be cut to the classic length of fajita strips, about 1/2 in (1.25 cm) wide.