Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A little taste of Lebanon

During the summer, I like to make dishes that are light yet filling. One of my favorites is tabbouleh, a yummy grain salad that's perfect for warm weather.

Tabbouleh, according to Wikipedia (which, you know, is the benchmark when it comes to definitions) "is a Levantine Arad salad dish, often used as part of a mezze. Its primary ingredients are finely chopped parsley, bulgur, mint, tomato, scallion, herbs, lemon juice, olive oil and various seasonings."

Most tabbouleh you're probably used to has a bunch of crap in it, such as bell peppers, cucumbers and the aforementioned tomato. I don't put that much stuff in there. I guess it's because I'm used to my mom's tabbouleh (we call it kisir in Turkish), which I am about to share with you.

What You'll Need:

2 cups bulgur (cracked wheat). But make sure it's the "fine" kind, not coarse or your tabbouleh will be too starchy.
1 large diced onion (about 1.5-2 cups)
1 cup chopped scallions
1 cup chopped parsley (I use the curly kind but flat-leaf is ok too, if you want a milder flavor)
1-2 lemons
2 tablespoons tomato paste
About 2 cups shredded Romaine lettuce
Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper, Red (cayenne) Pepper
Boiling Water

What You'll Do:

Put bulgur in a medium to large bowl.

Pour 4 cups of boiling water in there. Cover and wait for the water to be absorbed.

While the bulgur absorbs the water, sautee onions in olive oil under medium-high heat.

When onions are caramelized/toasted, sprinkle a but with salt and papper, add tomato paste and mix.

Add mixture to bulgur (see how fluffy it is?)

Mix it up well

Add scallions

And parsley

And lettuce

Squeeze 1 lemon over it all

Add some salt and pepper, and a bit of olive oil.
Mix again.

And, if you have children bothering you, put those suckers to work!

Adjust seasonings to taste and add more lemon if necessary

Serve tabbouleh with/wrapped in romaine lettuce

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