Fattoush (from Ottolenghi's Jerusalem)
I made this and the flavor was terrific but I didn't like the soggy pieces of pita at all (although others did). Is this how it's meant to be?
I like my fattoush bread to be a mix of soggy and crunchy in the same piece. To achieve that I use breads that are thick enough to stand up to a bit of moisture, I get them crispy and dry in the oven first and I don't let the fattoush stand more than 10 mins before serving.
When I lived in Australia pita bread was too thin so I used Turkish pide bread for this recipe. I'm not sure of the thickness of pita bread where you live but perhaps trying a different bread may help.
I'm with Frizzle in that I like bits of soggy and crunchy in the same piece. There is a place near my office that makes a fair enough fattoush and they just use small croutons (packaged, all the same size) which while not the most impressive in taste actually do the best in uniformly achieving the texture mix.
I'm not familiar with the Ottolenghi's recipe - but I have found that the pita that holds up the best are fried. Deep fried or pan fried. Beyond that, definitely do not mix the pita chips in early - and if the salad will be standing for a while (at a picnic) - you may have the pita chips on the side or sprinkle on top like a crouton.
In January of this year, Ottolenghi's "Jerusalem" was Cookbook of the Month and a number of people made the fattoush. Here's a link to a few reports on that dish: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8843...
You'll see that a couple of people chose to toast the bread to give it some crunch, although Ottolenghi says specifically in his headnote that Sami's mother didn't used to fry her bread and that made the dish "terribly comforting." I haven't made that recipe, but I did make the one on the following page, the Baby Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds. In that recipe he calls for the pita to be fried and I found that the pita remained delightfully crunchy until the salad had been eaten.
You asked if soggy pita was how it was meant to be and the answer is yes. But if you don't care for it that way, simply toast or fry your pita according to the directions on the following page and toss the pita pieces into the salad before serving rather than along with the dressing and the rest of the ingredients.
I have a different question about this recipe, which is whether home-soured milk (milk + lemon) can be used instead of buttermilk? I use this sub for baking but I've never tried it in a dressing. The home-soured milk is a bit clumpy, which deters me, but I hate to buy yet another whole container of buttermilk that is mostly destined to go bad.