Food Editor's Note: This is a delicious middle eastern salad made with bulgur, fresh vegetables, and herbs. It is light and refreshing and goes with most entrees as a side dish or as a salad on its own. For the best taste and texture, it is important to use firm tomatoes and the freshest herbs and other vegetables as possible. You can vary the amounts of most of the ingredients, and can refresh the taste after a day or two with a squeeze of fresh lemon. For a delicious lunch or light supper – or picnic fare – make a wrap with turkey (or cheese for dairy) , tabbouleh, and spicy hummus with tahini. Different and delicious!
1 cup bulgur (cracked wheat)
1 cup boiling water
3 large firm tomatoes
1 large English (seedless) cucumber
2 large or 3 medium scallions, sliced thinly
1 cup medium-packed flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/3 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice (approx. 1 1/2 lemons)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Place the bulgur in a bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Let stand for approximately 1/2 hour, or until all the water is absorbed.
While the bulgur is soaking, chop the tomatoes into small pieces. I do this on a cutting board and then lift the tomato pieces up using a fork, leaving the excess juice and seeds behind to discard (or save for a soup). Place the tomato in a large mixing bowl.
Peel the cucumber, slice in half vertically, and scoop out the seeds and discard. Chop the cucumber into small dice and add to the tomatoes.
Add the thinly-sliced scallions, chopped parsley, and chopped mint to the vegetables.
If there is any excess liquid in the bulgur, squeeze it out in a fine sieve or through cheesecloth. Add the bulgur to the bowl with the vegetables and mix.
Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and mix well.
Refrigerate, covered, a few hours or overnight so that the flavors will blend.
Serve this salad cold.
Yield: Approximately 5 1/2-6 cups
Jamie Stolper is the Food Editor of ShalomBoston.com.