Monday, May 5, 2008

Tabouli Time

It’s full on warm today in Chicago; the AC came on automatically in my car this afternoon. I love these warm days of spring. The new leaves are turning a deeper green, promising warmer days ahead. I’ve started planning my container gardens. All I can think about are the summer fruits and vegetables I’ve missed so much. In the middle of Whole Foods I thought Tabouli! There will be tabouli tonight! I sped over to the bulk foods aisle and filled a bag with bulgar wheat, tabouli’s principal ingredient.

Bulgar is durum wheat that has been parboiled and had the bran removed. Despite the de-branning, buglar is considered a nutrient rich cereal, with a low glycemic index (low GI foods release glucose more slowly and steadily).

The Arabic salad also known as tabbouleh is a heavily dependent on access to good ripe tomatoes. I make mine with garlic, lemon juice, parsley and tomato. Because cut tomatoes need to be consumed quickly, leftover or day-old tabouli is never delicious. When my kitchen was in disrepair a few weeks ago I sampled the tabouli from a new restaurant nearby whose friendly proprietors made me optimistic about the quality of their food. Turned out they’re more charming than talented. The tabouli was not fresh and thus inedible. Shortchanged, I’ve had a hankering for the good stuff ever since.

I'm often asked how to serve it. I think of it as an Arabic micro-panzanella, a bread salad. I'd never eat bread salad with bread, so I eat tabouli as a side salad. Others can't resist having good pita bread on hand. Certainly a pita stuffed with sliced lemon chicken and several spoonfuls of tabouli would make a delightful sandwich.

Print recipe only here

Serves 6-8
Combine, cover and let stand 20 minutes:
• 1 cup dry bulgar wheat
• 1 ½ cup boiling water

Add and combine:
• 1 ½ t salt
• ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
• 1 T garlic, pressed or minced
• 2 T olive oil

Cover and refrigerate 2-3 hours. Then add:
• 2 cups chopped tomato, seeded
• 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
• Fresh ground pepper

Taste, adjust seasoning as necessary and serve.


Jen said...

I'm loving this warm weather. Tabouli and some fresh gazpacho would be perfect!

Katie Fairbank said...

Great idea. I love the Barefoot Contessa gazpacho recipe. I might just make some right now. Happy Spring, Jen!