Galilean Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh is that Middle-Eastern salad made from coarse cracked wheat and finely-chopped vegetables, seasoned with olive oil and lemon. I usually buy it already made, but this recipe caught my eye. It comes from the beautifully-written food article out of the Israeli newspaper, Ha’aretz, Tabbouleh by Night, Tabbouleh by Day: Recipes That Honor the Ancient Harvest . It perfectly captures the romance found in telling of an ancient harvest, and how it connects to Jewish religious tradition. There are also some other varieties of tabbouleh which I was not bold enough to clip, such as Japanese Tabbouleh and Chocolate and Grapefruit Tabbouleh [?!?]

3/4 cup coarse bulgur
1 small red onion
2 firm cucumbers
1 ripe tomato
1 large bunch parsley
12 sprigs cilantro (optional)
leaves from 6 sprigs of mint
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
sea salt
coarsely ground black pepper

Rinse the bulgur in a strainer under the tap and then soak for an hour in a bowl of water at room temperature. When the bulgur has absorbed some of the water and softened a bit, drain well and squeeze out the excess water. Transfer to a wide bowl.

Mince the onion, cucumber and tomato and add to the bulgur. Mince the parsley, cilantro and mint and add to the mixture. Pour the olive oil and lemon juice over it, season with salt and pepper and mix. Serve the salad fresh with pita and good tehina.

Tabbouleh originated in Syrian-Lebanese cuisine, where the use of bulgur is very common. Cracked wheat is sorted by size – from coarse bulgur, which is what I prefer to use in salads, to the very finest kind, jarish, used in making kubbeh, for instance. Tabbouleh is made of minced vegetables and herbs mixed with bulgur and seasoned with olive oil and lemon. Some like to add pomegranate seeds when in season, or to season with a little allspice and cinnamon. I prefer the fresh green version, slightly bitter from the mint leaves and slightly sharp from the onion, and as fresh as a newly blooming field.

Hedai Offaim

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