Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mom's Tabbouleh

For as long as I can remember, my mother has regularly made tabbouleh. I imagine this was one of her go-to dishes for a number of reasons. For one thing, it's an ideal dish to prepare on the weekend to eat over several days after because it keeps very well in the fridge. It is also perfect for Madrid's numerous warm months, when you need a side that is heartier than a conventional salad but still light and refreshing. Lastly, if you use couscous instead of bulgur wheat it comes together in a snap. This short cut hasn't changed my opinion of my mother's rendition of tabbouleh. Over the years I've had many different renditions of the dish, some probably more authentic than my mom's, but the one thing that has been missing from all of them is the taste of home.

Mom's Tabbouleh
Makes 4-6 servings
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots or onions
  • 1 heaping cup of halved grape tomatoes or chopped tomatoes
  • 1 bunch or about 1 cup packed parsley, chopped
  • 1 bunch or about 1 cup packed mint, chopped
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (I used 1 1/2 lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1. In a small pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the salt, 1 tablespoon of oil and the couscous. Remove from the heat and stir quickly. Let the couscous sit covered for about 5 minutes.
2. Add the parsley, mint, tomatoes and shallots to a large salad bowl.
3. Right in the measuring cup, mix the oil, lemon juice, the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, pepper and cumin. Mix the dressing vigorously until emulsified.
4. Fluff up the couscous with a fork and add it to the salad bowl.
5. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until it's evenly distributed.
6. Optionally, cover the salad and let it chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to a few hours to let the flavors develop.

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