August 12, 2011

Good to the Grain


I just wanted to send out a short post for what could be a no-prep, no-cook, minimal-clean-up required salad, perfect for summer picnics, a quick side dish or a light, last-minute supper.

Tabbouleh should mainly consist of parsley or a combination of parsley, basil and mint, along with the grain. Outside of the Middle East it is usually more grain-based, but the herbs should take the lead. This recipe calls for hits of horseradish, chopped baby gherkins, some garlic and a squeeze of lemon to balance out the sharp flavors, but still give it a some zing. Once the olive oil is added and the flavors and ingredients begin to mingle, the salad becomes fresh and zesty. Let it sit for as long as you like (well, use your best judgement on that, of course) as the flavors will continue to become even bolder.

Note: This tabbouleh is made with bulgur, but can also be made with wheat berries, farro, barley, or any other nutty, chewy grain. I am sure brown, long grain or jasmine rice could work in a pinch as well, why not? I recently began using amaranth (a grain with a colorful and very interesting history) and am now curious how that would be, actually. And wait, for the risotto-loving crowd, I bet carnaroli or arborio rice would work nicely. Quinoa would also be a great alternative for those sensitive to gluten.

A change in grain may technically change the name of the dish, but its OK... going against the grain can be fun...


*1 cup bulgur (Bob's Red Mill brand available in most grocery stores)
*2 handfuls fresh parsley, finely chopped
*1 handful fresh basil, finely chopped
*1 handful fresh mint, finely chopped
*1 small bunch scallions, finely chopped
*1-3 garlic cloves, depending on preference, finely chopped
*1 Tbsp. cocktail gherkins or cornichons, finely chopped (as well as a bit of juice from the jar)
*1 pint firm cherry tomatoes, halved
*6 Tbsp. good olive oil
*2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
*1 Tbsp. horseradish (optional)
*salt and pepper, to taste
(pita bread and pastrami, also optional, to serve)

Put bulgur wheat in large bowl and add enough cold water to cover by an inch. :et stand for 30 minutes, and add a little more water as it is absorbed by the bulgur. Drain, pat or squeeze dry and transfer to a larger, dry bowl.

Chop the parsley, mint and basil together and add to the bulgur. Add the scallions and the next seven ingredients. Cover and let the salad stand for a few hours to allow the flavors to develop.

If using the pita and the pastrami to serve, arrange pastrami around the edge of a serving dish and pile the tabbouleh in the middle. Cover closely with plastic wrap until ready to serve. Serve along with the pita bread.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This dish is wonderful! Made it partly because I never had it before and it sounded good and healthy, but mostly because I just went to my garden, picked the herbs fresh, and was able to use them all in the same recipe. Thanks, Audra, for opening up the world of tabbouleh to me. --JEC