We watched Nadia G. prepare this tasty salad, and immediately set about planning to make it ourselves. Kind of a Lebanese riff on panzanella – the salad is a tempting combination of blueberries, pomegranate seeds (ermmm, I used dried cranberries), freshly minced mint, Mshalale cheese, and toasted pita bread with a zippy lemon vinaigrette.
But first, we needed to find a source for the Mshalale, and I had to try my hand at making pita bread.
Our friends Golnaz and Mehran set us up with the Mshalale – a Middle Eastern string cheese that – tho’ you could use feta if you don’t have friends shopping at a specialty market for you.
Cheese accounted for, I set about gathering stuff to make the salad.
Lemon Pita Toast:
•1 large fresh pita – I used 2 or 3
•1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
•1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
•Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
•Pinch red pepper flakes
•4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
•2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
•Freshly ground black pepper
•Small pinch brown sugar
•1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
– I used sunflower seeds
•Handful fresh mint leaves, chopped
– I used fresh parsley
•1 cup fresh blueberries
•1 cup pomegranate seeds
•1/2 cup shredded mshalale cheese
– or 1/2 cup feta cheese
As noted above, I used dried cranberries in place of the pomegranate seeds (da Google said I could), and then went ahead and made a few other, wee, tiny, ermmm, adjustments to the recipe to suit my tastes and (as always) my larder: I used sunflower seeds in place of the pumpkin (and didn’t toast them); and used freshly minced parsley in place of the mint.
First, make the pita toast by heating the oven to 400º, then brushing the pita with olive oil and lemon juice and sprinkling with the sea salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Bake for 5 minutes, until the bread is nicely crisped. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Make the vinaigrette by combining the olive oil, lemon juice, pepper, and brown sugar together in a jar with a tight lid.
Close the lid and shake until the dressing is emulsified – it’ll be all golden and creamy looking.
That (and mebbe finding the cheese) is about it for any tricky parts of making this salad – all that’s left is tossing all the pieces together and then eating it!
Add the blueberries to a large bowl with the prepared mint (or parsley), pomegranate seeds (or dried cranberries), and cheese. If you’ve used Mshalale – just pull it apart into strings then tear off pieces to add to the salad bowl.
Tear the toasted pita into pieces and drop onto the salad, then dress with a bit of the vinaigrette, sprinkle with the seeds, and toss to combine.
We had ours with Eggplant Parmesan and were most well pleased with ourselves…
I would like to buy that mshalale cheese and I cannot find it anywhere. Do
have a place that you purchased it for you show. thank you
Armenian string cheese is the very same thing and it is easy to find in any middle eastern deli/food shop.
You HAVE to find that cheese! I just tasted the meal (I had no pumpkin seed either :-), but roasted the sunflower seeds in pumpkin seed oil at least, also used cranberries…), it would only be half (or even less) of the fun with feta cheese.
Here in Duesseldorf (Germany) I found the Mshallali cheese in a middle east food store (called “Jasmine Damascus”). We also have Asian/Arabian/African deli stores, perhaps you know something comparable in your country?