Tabbouleh can be prepared in a couple of different ways. One preparation uses lots of bulgur wheat and few herbs – and the other recipe, almost the complete opposite, uses little bulgur and loads of fresh herbs (parsley and mint). This recipe is for the heavy bulgur variety. I like a medium coarse grade of bulgur wheat because it gives more of a bite to the salad, but fine coarse is fine, too (!), if that’s what you have in stock. It’s a healthy, simple salad that I love especially in the summer. As with all cooking, it is important to taste and adjust seasonings to make it “pop”. Try adding a little allspice if you have it – it changes the flavor nicely. Cucumber is not a traditional ingredient in tabbouleh, but I like including it for the freshness and crunch it gives. This salad is at its best when tossed just before serving.
Ingredients – for 8 people in a buffet
200g bulgur wheat, medium coarse
220g hot water
250g vine-ripe tomatoes
55g new onions or mild onions
¾ of an English cucumber
100g lemon juice
100g extra virgin olive oil
½ - 1 big bunch of fresh mint
1 big bunch of fresh parsley
Salt, and piment d’Espelette (or cayenne pepper), allspice
- Bulgur wheat: Rinse 4-5 times in large quantities of water until the cloudiness goes away. Pour hot water (from a kettle for example) over bulgur and let rest about an hour or until absorbed. It should taste “al dente” and have a bite to it. If you have excess water in the bowl, drain it. If using fine coarse bulgur, the water does not need to be boiled – tap water is fine. Fluff with a fork.
- Prepare vegetables. Finely chop tomatoes and onions. Remove seeds from cucumber and dice finely or grate. Reserve each one.
- Clean and dry the herbs. Make sure the herbs are really dried well. Chop finely just before using.
- Assemble. Combine soaked bulgur with remaining ingredients. Toss to mix well. Taste and adjust all seasonings as need be. Serve immediately.