When summer heats up, everything seems to taste better outdoors. Whether you have a backyard patio or a city balcony, it’s time to fire up the barbie and round out the menu with the simplest side dishes.
Make-ahead dishes that require little or no cooking allow you to keep your cool while entertaining this summer. You’ll spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your guests.
This recipe for tabbouleh (pronounced tuh-BOO-luh) calls for three times the tomato and a great deal more parsley and mint than many tabbouleh recipes. I am told by Middle Easterners that the recipes that are more bulgur than salad or that call for garlic or green peppers are not authentic. But who’s to say what is authentic? Every family of cooks has its own variations on traditional dishes.
Makes 6 Servings
1 cup fine-grain bulgur
1 cup boiling water
4 medium (1 1/2 pounds) tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 bunch (3 or 4) green onions, very thinly sliced
2 bunches (12 to 14 ounces total) flat-leaf parsley, very finely chopped
1 bunch (about 2 ounces) mint, leaves only, very finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 to 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
(Optional: 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon allspice, authentic, but not to everyone’s taste)
- In 3-quart bowl, pour boiling water over bulgur. Cover and let stand until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the tomatoes, green onions, parsley and mint.
- Spread the diced tomatoes and their juice over the bulgur, then add the sliced onions and chopped parsley and mint.
- Whisk together lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over tabbouleh and toss to mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more olive oil as needed. Cover and chill for 1 hour (or up to 1 day). Serve with grape leaves or leaves of lettuce or cabbage for scooping.