I'm a huge fan of tabbouleh. But there appears to be two distinct camps when it comes to making tabbouleh. Members of the first camp prefer a "bulgur wheat forward" recipe. In their eyes, it is a grain side dish and the vegetables play but a minor, supporting role. Members of the second camp prefer a "vegetable forward" recipe...there's only a smattering of bulgur wheat in the salad.
This recipe from Cook's Illustrated (to subscribe go here: http://www.cooksillustrated.com) strikes the perfect balance between the two camps. It has a perfect blend of veggies and bulgur wheat to create a substantial salad. Add a little protein like chicken or shrimp to the top of the tabbouleh and you have yourself a complete entree salad.
In previous recipes, I was always instructed to plump up the bulgur wheat with boiling water. That is not the case here. Remarkably, this recipe uses tomato and lemon juice to plump up the bulgur wheat....no boiling water required! This fabulous yet simple recipe serves four. It makes for a spectacular dish on a warm summer night.
3 medium tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup medium grind bulgur wheat
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
2 scallions, sliced thin
- Toss tomatoes and 1/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl. Transfer to fine-mesh strainer, set strainer in bowl, and let stand for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.
- Rinse bulgur in fine-mesh strainer under cold running water. Drain well and transfer to second bowl. Stir in 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 2 tablespoons juice from draining tomatoes. Let stand until grains are beginning to soften, 30 to 40 minutes.
- Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice, oil, cayenne, and 1/4 teaspoon salt together in large bowl. Add drained tomatoes, soaked bulgur, parsley, mint, and scallions; toss gently to combine. Cover and let stand at room temperature until flavors have blended and bulgur is tender, about 1 hour. Toss to recombine, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.
Wine pairing: A nicely chilled Pinot Gris