As I noted last post, I have been on a Jerusalem kick. The flavors and ingredients of the Near East are exotic, yet delightful, offering a welcome change from some of the normal mid-week meals. One such ingredient is tahini, a ground sesame paste, that is central to hummus, halvah, and other staples of middle eastern cuisine. Another ingredient is bulgur, which is a critical component of kibbeh (a stuffed meatball) and tabbouleh.
In one recent dinner, a layered kibbeh pie, we had a mix of bulgur and tahini (along with ground beef, pine nuts, and plenty of chopped parsley). Speaking of chopped parsley, tabbouleh can properly be seen as a vehicle for parsley and more parsley. It is a parsley-heavy salad. But it is also a cool and refreshing salad, at once hearty but light and airy.
It requires a little chopping and little waiting, but Tabbouleh comes together in minutes and can accompany almost any dish. It also does well as the main billing. Here’s my recipe for Tabbouleh.
PREP TIME: 10 minutes (2 hours of waiting)
COOK TIME: No cooking
YIELD: Serves 4
WHAT TO GRAB: 1 cup red bulgur (I like Bob's Red Mill) 1 cup boiling water 1 cup of fresh Italian Parsley, chopped 1/4 cup of fresh Mint, finely chopped 1 cup of sliced cherry tomatoes 1 cucumber, seeded and diced 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 3 tablespoons lemon juice 3 tablespoons olive oil
HOW YOU DO IT:
1.. In a heat-proof bowl, combine the bulgur and boiling water, and allow to soak for one hour. After an hour, drain well.
2. In a large bowl, combine the bulgur and the remaining ingredients except the olive oil. Chill for 1 hour* to allow the flavors to meld. (*You can skip the chilling if really hungry).
3. Immediately before serving, add the olive oil and mix well.