Monday, June 14, 2010

Tomato... Tomahto... Tabbouli... Tabbouleh

Some food questions are super easy to me… for instance… Manicotti is my favorite Italian dish.  Szechuan eggplant is my favorite Chinese dish.  Tacos are my favorite Mexican dish… and HANDS DOWN my favorite Middle Eastern dish is Tabbouleh!  I just love it!  I’ve always loved it.  I love the crisp green flavor of the parsley… the tang  from the lemon juice, the sweetness from the tomatoes and the earthy nutty flavor from the bulgur.   I had you up until bulgur right? 
Bulgur? What’s bulgur  you say? Bulgur (also known as bulgar, bulghur, and burghul) is whole wheat that's been parboiled, dried and crushed (or cracked). The outer bran layer is then rubbed off by hand and then sometimes ground again to achieve a particular grain size. Bulgur is sometimes referred to as cracked wheat….

It’s used in a lot of Armenian, Lebanese and Persian cuisine.  It is pretty much a staple in any Middle Eastern home… it always was in ours. 

Other than making sure you wash your parsley thoroughly this summertime salad is a perfect side dish any night of the week!  It’s healthy, it’s fresh and it’s good!

Remember, a good Tabbouleh salad isn’t all about bulgur, the parsley and the tomatoes are the real stars of this dish… somehow when you go to buy it premade in stores it’s all bulgur and no parsley… while that’s tasty too, it isn’t the true way Tabbouleh should be made.  Juicy, crispy, lemony, yummy!!!


2 Bunches Parsley (flat leaf or curly, I use curly)
4-6 Green Scallions chopped
3 Medium Sized Tomatoes Diced
¾ Cup Fine Bulgur
¼ Cup Fresh Mint Finely Chopped
½ -1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper (optional)
½ Cup Olive Oil
Juice of 1 or 2 Lemons
Salt & Pepper to taste

Romaine Lettuce to use as garnish

Rinse thoroughly and dry the parsley and remove all sand and dirt from it… trust me, parsley is pretty gritty.  Place on paper towels to dry.
Rinse and soak the bulgur in water for about 10-15 minutes, drain and squeeze out all excess water. 
In a large bowl place chopped parsley, scallions, tomatoes, mint, bulgur and seasonings. Give a good mix and then add the lemon juice and olive oil.  Adjust the taste as you like it.

Serve in a large bowl or platter and surround it with some extra chopped tomatoes and line the bowl with the hearts of romaine… you can use them as scoopers to eat the salad with.

This salad MUST go into the refrigerator for at least 10 to 15 minutes before serving. The colder the better.
On a hot summer day, this salad is sure to hit the spot as an appetizer or side dish.

** sidenotes**

If you can find some Persian Cucumbers or even an English Cucumber, dice it peel on and all and throw it in there for some extra crunch!
If you want to make your salad more plentiful and feel the taste of the parsley alone is too strong, shred some Romaine Lettuce and toss it in there with the salad.