Within a month south-east England has gone from proper summer temperatures (26° or so at the end of April) to something approaching autumn. It’s windy, grey and so cold that I have to resist the urge to turn the heating back on. In (almost) June. But even in such unseasonal weather, I’m still craving salads not soup, grilled meats, not stews. Perhaps after a long cold winter our stomachs, like the rest of our bodies, demand the freshness of greenery and the taste of sunshine, even if the latter seems to have come and gone already this year. This recipe is one I’ve written about before on a different site but it bears repeating; unlike most tabboulehs the Moro version builds the salad around the herbs, not around the bulgur wheat and eating it makes you feel like you know everything there is to know about healthy food. Sometimes I’ve substituted couscous for bulgur, and used a different size of bulgur when I’ve not had any fine-grained; as long as you remember to ‘cook’ whatever you use for its size all of them work.
Don’t be tempted to miss out the cinnamon (unless, obviously, you hate the stuff); it’s a touch of genius. If you want to bulk it out a bit, serve it with some pitta and feta cheese then pretend that you’re eating it somewhere sunnier.
Tabbouleh salad (adapted from Moro: the Cookbook)
You will need:
Cupboard (or things you may already have)
1 garlic clove
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil (about 25ml)
Sea salt and black pepper
40g fine/medium bulgur wheat or couscous
200g tomatoes (small ones are the best but any fresh ones, cut up small enough, will work)
2 spring onions
30g mint (a small handful)
60g flat-leaf parsley (a large handful)
pinch ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon/15ml lemon juice
1. Gently wash then de-stalk (painful but necessary) the mint and parsley. Roll the leaves in kitchen roll to soak up most of the water then chop roughly and put them in a salad bowl.
2. Wash and, if large ones, dice the tomatoes into small pieces. Add them to the herbs.
3. Top and tail the spring onions, chop the white and green parts finely and put into the bowl with the herbs and tomatoes.
4. If you are using fine bulgur, just give it a wash, drain it and then add it to the rest. For medium bulgur or couscous, put it in another bowl, sprinkle it with fine salt and a little olive oil then pour on a little boiling water (about a tablespoon). Stir and leave to absorb the water. After about two minutes, fluff it up with a fork and test it. If it’s still a bit crunchy, add a little more water, re-fluff and repeat until it’s done. Then add it to the rest of the ingredients.
5. To make the dressing, peel and crush the garlic clove in a bowl or pestle and mortar, then add the lemon juice and cinnamon and stir to mix together. Finally, stir in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. You may need to add a little more lemon juice or oil to taste.
6. Toss the herbs, tomatoes, onions and bulgur with the dressing.