Tabbouleh

 

The first time I had this was in a Persian restaurant in Washington DC. What an incredible idea: a salad of parsley. It’s a bit of a pain to make, especially since I don’t like parsley stems, but foolproof.

For this version you’ll need:
• 1 1/2 cups bulgur wheat (medium or course)
• 2 big bunches of parsley
• 1 red onion
• 2 large tomatoes
• 1 cup lemon juice (4-5 lemons)
• 1/2 cup olive oil (I use Nunez)
• 2 tablespoons fresh or dried mint
• Salt and pepper to taste (I use Maldon sea salt and freshly ground Tellicherry pepper)

Equipment I used:
Large mixing bowl
2 cup measuring cup
Mesh strainer
2 quart sauce pan
Lemon squeezer
Cutting board
8 inch chefs knife

Start proofing the bulgur wheat. There are many ways to do this. I’ve settled on putting it into a mesh strainer fitted into a saucepan—shown above—and running hot water over it to wet the grains until the water reaches the top. I sit it by the sink and about 45 minutes later it’s all puffed up and you can just pick the strainer up and let the water run out.

While this is going on, get out a large bowl, the biggest one you have. Finely dice the tomatoes and put them in your bowl and sprinkle with the Maldon sea salt. Set aside.

In a 2 cup measuring cup, add a half cup of olive oil and stir in the mint; finely minced if using fresh. Squeeze the lemons and add to the olive oil.

Now finely dice the red onion and add it to the olive oil and lemon juice mixture.

Now the parsley. I don’t like stems so I painstakingly pluck the leaves and then coarsely chop them. But you can do this however you want.

Once the bulgur is drained and ready, add everything to the bowl with the tomatoes. Add freshly ground pepper to taste or not.

Watch it disappear in less time than it took to make.

Copyright © 2017 MRStrauss • All rights reserved

Insalata Caprese with Smoked Mozzarella and Basil

This is almost too simple to put here, but I love this version with smoked mozzarella. All you need to do is slice or cut your tomatoes however you want, sprinkle with sea salt flakes and let sit for a few minutes while you cut up the mozzarella and basil. In this recipe, the mozzarella is more of an accent than a equal player; sometimes I do little cubes, sometimes sticks. If I have enough basil florets, I’ll use those; if not, I’ll do a chiffonade. The trick here, for me— and maybe this is just my imagination— is pouring the balsamic vinegar over the tomatoes before putting the mozzarella on top because I think it makes the cheese go tough. Weird. Also, some folks think adding vinegar is a travesty, but I think a little works well here. So, to taste and depending how hungry you are, tomatoes, salt flakes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar (you need very little of this, probably around teaspoon for a cup and a half of tomatoes), fresh cracked pepper, smoked mozzarella, and basil. Pair it with garlic bread and corn on the cob and voila! And a big glass of ice water with lemon, double voila!

Copyright © 2016 MRStrauss • All rights reserved