Sunday, August 30, 2020


sharmoula scooped up on a bread round
Served as Dip = Sharmoula

Recipe by A. and Robin

I messed up. When trying to recreate my cousin A.’s delicious sharmoula, a traditional Libyan salad, memory didn’t quite serve. I got the ingredients right. I cut them right. I adjusted the proportions to maximize deliciousness. I made an acceptable substitution of green onions for red. I made it with love like A. said to. BUT, “Wait, you put the bread IN the salad?” asked A. when I sent a photo. I’d forgotten that the bread goes on the side, to serve like a dip. Still, my salad saved my days-old bread quite tastily.

bowl of sharmoula with bread rounds
Classic Sharmoula Served with Bread
So to legitimize my recipe I tried out classic salads that have bread in them. Italian panzanella, with basil and garlic added to the basic sharmoula ingredients of tomatoes, cucumbers, and onion, with red wine vinegar instead of lemon juice. And Lebanese fattoush, with romaine, radishes, sumac, and pita added to sharmoula ingredients. But I still preferred my own mis-creation of “sharmoula” with added sourdough baguette. The simple lemon and olive oil dressing shows off August’s farm-fresh in-season tomatoes and cucumbers perfectly. So, my “California Summer Bread Salad” recipe is a keeper.

I’ve also prepared and served the sharmoula as it should be, scooped up with baguette rounds like a dip. Delicious, traditional, and fun to eat! Be sure to chop everything really fine, so it’s scoopable, similar to salsa. I used the food processor on some of the tomatoes. You can choose to, or not. As my recipe indicates, ingredient quantities can vary quite a bit depending on your taste and what’s on hand. 

I’ve put both traditional sharmoula and my bread-enhanced variation in my recipe below. Because next time I have an elder baguette on my hands, I won’t hesitate to add it to the traditional sharmoula ingredients (easy bread-prep method below). Either style is loaded with fresh summer veggies, so it’s gonna be delicious, regardless of where the bread goes. Happy Summer!

California bread salad variation
My California Bread Salad Variation
Sharmoula with Californian Variation 
Makes 6 - 7 cups

1 large cucumber (~1 1b.)
~1¾ lbs. assorted heirloom tomatoes
~¾ - lb. Early Girl or sweet tomatoes
½ bunch green onions
3 tbsp. minced red onion
~3½ tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp. - ¼ cup olive oil
¼ - ½ tsp. grey salt
~5 grinds black pepper
½ - 1 baguette
lemon wedges, optional garnish
olive oil drizzle, optional garnish
salt and black pepper, optional garnish

Cut the cucumbers very small, about ¼ inch. Place in mixing bowl.

 Process about half of the heirloom tomatoes, if desired. Add to mixing bowl. Chop remaining heirloom and sweet tomatoes very small, and add to mixing bowl.

Slice green onions finely. Add green onions and minced red onions to mixing bowl. Toss ingredients.

Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil. Add grey (or sea) salt and pepper. Toss and taste, adjust seasoning. 

For Sharmoula: refrigerate salad for 1 hour or so to let flavors meld. Meanwhile, slice baguette into rounds. Serve baguette slices with salad. Garnish with lemon wedges, olive oil drizzle, salt, and/or pepper if desired.

For California Bread Salad: assuming bread is hard, you can freshen it up and at the same time make it hold together better in the salad with the following method:

Wet the outside of bread under the faucet. Place in paper bag. Microwave on high till warm and softened, between 30 – 50 seconds. Tear into approximately 1-inch pieces. Add to the salad and toss. Refrigerate about 60 minutes so flavors will blend. Serve with lemon wedges, drizzle of olive oil, salt, and/or pepper if desired.
cucumbers in mixing bowl
Finely Chop the Cucumbers
variety of cut tomatoes
Slice a Variety of Tomatoes
finely chopped tomatoes and cucumbers
Finely Chop Tomatoes, Process ~25% if You Like
All sharmoula ingredients mixed together
Mix In Onions, Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Salt, Pepper
bowl of sharmoula with bread added = California bread salad
Add Bread, or Serve it on the Side

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