Bread Crumb Salad


        1 cup toasted thin bread, broken in small pieces
        3 medium sized cucumbers, peeled and diced, or
        1 romaine lettuce heart, shredded
        1 large tomato, or more if desired
        1 large white onion, or
          8 scallions
        1/2 cup parsley, chopped
        1/2 cup mint leaves, chopped
        1/2 cup baqli leaves (an Arabic herb)
        2 cloves garlic
        1/2 cup lemon juice, or
          1/2 cup sammak water (see below)
        1/2 cup olive oil
        1 large green pepper
        Salt to taste
A local seasoning called sammak gives this salad a different and slightly astringent taste. The original recipe uses leftover, dried Arabic bread, but crumbled melba toast may be substituted.

Put toasted pieces of bread in large salad bowl. Sprinkle with sammak water or lemon juice. (Sammak water is prepared by crushing a tablespoon of seeds and steeping them in half cup o water for 15 minutes. Work seeds between fingers to extract essence. Wear rubber gloves as juice stains the fingers.) Add chopped cucumbers or lettuce, green pepper, tomato, parsley, mint, baqli. Sprinkle chopped onions with salt and add. Mix well and add olive oil slowly. Taste. Adjust salt. Garlic pounded to a paste with salt and lemon juice may be added. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of pounded sammak if available.

(From Food from the Arab World Marie Karam Khayat and Margaret Clark Keatinge, Khayat's, Beirut 1959)