Jessica Elliott Dennison’s cherry, almond and pitta salad

The cookery writer shares a Lebanese-inspired seasonal recipe from her new book

Photograph: © Matt Russell

Cherry and almond are flavours meant for each other, and here I toss them through crunchy baked pitta for a new take on fattoush, the popular Lebanese dish. Use fresh cherries if they are in season; otherwise simply defrost some frozen ones. I’ve used pomegranate molasses as I like the tart sweetness it adds to the dressing, but if that’s not in your cupboard, a splash of vinegar and some honey will work just as well. If I’m making this as part of a larger feast, I’ll often serve it with some fried halloumi or hummus alongside.

Cherry, almond and baked pitta with pomegranate, chickpeas and mint

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 pitta or flatbreads (white or wholemeal)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground sumac
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp sea salt flakes
50g almonds
400g tin chickpeas in water, rinsed and drained
200g cherries, stones removed and roughly chopped
Large bunch (30g) flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Small bunch (20g) mint, roughly chopped
130g radishes, sliced
2 large ripe tomatoes, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 small cucumber, deseeded and roughly chopped

For the dressing:

1 small garlic clove
2 tsp pomegranate molasses
Juice of ½ to 1 lemon
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp ground sumac

Method

First, preheat the oven to 200°C. Open out the pitta, then tear bite-size pieces into a baking tray and rub with the oil, sumac, cumin and salt. Bake for seven minutes, then remove, give the tray a shake, add the almonds and bake for another three minutes until the bread and almonds are golden. (Keep an eye on them in the oven, as oven temperatures and cooking times really vary.) Transfer to a plate to cool.

To assemble, peel and crush the garlic into a large mixing bowl, then stir in the molasses, juice of half the lemon, the oil and sumac. Slice the cooled almonds into slivers, then tip into the bowl along with the chickpeas, baked pitta and remaining chopped ingredients. Toss gently to coat evenly in the dressing, then check the seasoning; you may want to squeeze in the remaining lemon half. Serve immediately while the pitta is still nice and crunchy.

‘Salad Feasts: How to Assemble the Perfect Meal’ by Jessica Elliott Dennison (£16.99, Hardie Grant) is published on 12 July. 

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T&C tests: Kyseri, Fitzrovia