Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Storm-tossed tabbouleh salad

Downtown PatersonImage via Wikipedia
Paterson has a few Lebanese restaurants that serve tabbouleh salad.

The other day, I saw a big shock of flat-leaf parsley growing out of one of the boxes on my deck, and immediately thought tabbouleh salad.

I'll always remember the small mountain of tabbouleh served at Vine Valley, the Lebanese restaurant in Paterson that closed several years ago. It was mostly parsley, with just a little bulgur wheat, chopped onion and tomato, and other ingredients. 

Today -- as wind and rain lashed my house and trees swayed like so many drunken sailors -- I raced outside with scissors and cut as much parsley as I could find.

I checked online for recipes, but didn't have all the ingredients on hand, so I winged it.

I washed and chopped the parsley and a few leaves of peppermint that was growing next to it. I'd say I had about two or three cups of loose parsley. I also chopped half of a small onion and a large beefsteak tomato, removing the seeds and putting everything in a bowl.

I boiled a cup of water with a dash of salt and added a half-cup of bulgur, simmering it until most of the liquid was absorbed. I put the small pot in the refrigerator until the bulgur cooled a little.

After I added the bulgur to the parsely, onion and tomato, I poured on Lebanese extra-virgin olive oil until everything was moist, then squeezed about two lemons over the salad. I was looking for a tart salad, and combined everything well.

I liked the way it came out. Of course, it wasn't Vine Valley's salad, but it was lemony and crunchy, and tasted good.
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  1. My whole life I was used to eating my mother's Syrian style tabbouleh which adds finely chopped romaine lettuce and is a little less heavy on the parsley. When I started eating out at Arabic restaurants I found the tabbouleh that is so parsley heavy as being a little overwhelming but I have grown to enjoy both kinds.

  2. I cannot recall whether my mother made tabbouleh.

    That finely chopped romaine could be a nice touch and a relief from all that parsley.

    And if you don't have enough parsley, you can easily stretch it with romaine.


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