I woke up to another gorgeous sunny day. Stefanie and I were planning on cooking together so I headed to my local farmers market. They had ripe sweet tomatoes, aromatic mint and big beautiful bunches of parsley. We prefer Italian parsley to curly parsley because it has a stronger more pronounced flavor. My lemons trees aren’t quite ripe so I picked up a few of those and headed home. Tabouli Salad tastes so fresh. Although the perfect salad for summertime in the winter it brings the sunshine back into your kitchen.
3 bunches of Italian parsley (3-½ cups chopped)
3 sprigs of mint
1 cup of fine bulgur wheat (Number 1)
2 ripe tomatoes, loosely remove seeds and dice (1-½ cups)
½ cup lemon juice (2 lemons)
¼ cup plus 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon kosher salt (if using sea salt or regular salt cut amount in half)
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Optional: chopped scallions, chopped onions, chopped cucumbers, fresh peas
Stem and clean two bunches of parsley, soaking and changing the water a few times to remove all sand and dirt particles. Dry in a salad spinner. This can be done a day ahead, allowing it to dry more thoroughly.
Put 1 cup of fine bulgur wheat into a small bowl (the sides must be 2 inches higher than the wheat to allow for expansion yet the bowl should not be so broad that the liquid disperses on the bottom.)
Squeeze lemons and remove the seeds. Pour the juice onto the bulgur to cover and mix lightly then smooth the top.
After ten minutes add 1/4 cup of olive oil and let it sit for another ten minutes. Most tabouli recipes have you soaking the bulgur in water for 10-15 minutes, pressing the water out and adding oil and lemon. This mutes the flavor of the bulgur wheat, the lemon juice and the olive oil. One of the best cooks I’ve ever met, Suad NeJame from Albany, New York, suggested omitting that step. Since following her directions and adding the lemon juice and olive oil directly onto the bulgar, I’ve noticed a huge difference – each ingredient stands out on their own, the lemon sings, the parsley has a clean fresh taste and even on the second day it is fabulous. My mouth is watering just writing about it.
Lightly seed and dice the tomatoes and add them to the bulgur wheat to disperse their extra liquid and flavor.
Chop the parsley and mint and put in a large bowl. Toss with the bulgar wheat, tomato combination and add kosher salt (regular fine salt will break down the ingredients) and freshly ground pepper. Check and adjust seasoning. In season, fresh peas are my favorite addition.