I love this time of year. It seems like every patch of sunny ground is overflowing with the bounty of summer: tomatoes, corn, squash, cucumbers. The list could go on and on. Whether you have a backyard larder full of sun-ripened produce, or you are a Saturday morning farmer’s market patron, there is an abundance of flavorful, wholesome fruits and vegetables at your fingertips now through the fall.
Now, I like a simply sliced tomato with a little salt and pepper as much as the next guy, but I also know that even such delectable garden treasures can get old without a little variety and a touch of creativity. This book, Vegetable Love by Barbara Kafka, has got you covered. There are hundreds of recipes highlighting all kinds of veggies. This weekend I had a family picnic to attend, and with a garden full of just ripening tomatoes I decided to give a simple classic recipe a try. This Big Tabbouleh is just that, really big both in flavor and quantity. Even my big family barely made a dent. I would suggest halving this unless you’re planning on feeding about 75 people. Also, get your hands on some ripe, luscious garden tomatoes. The mealy, refrigerated grocery store type just won’t do.
Big Tabbouleh from Vegetable Love
2 lbs medium bulgur (about 5 cups)
8 ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into ¼ inch dies
2 bunches scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 bunches fresh Italian parsley, leaves only, coarsely chopped
1 bunch fresh mint, leaves only, coarsely chopped
2 t ground cumin
2 t freshly ground black pepper
4 t kosher salt
¾ c olive oil
¾ c lemon juice
Soak the bulgur in hot water to cover for 30 minutes. If the water is not completely absorbed, drain the bulgur and squeeze dry.
In a large bowl, combine the bulgur, tomatoes, scallions, parsley and mint. Toss to combine. Add the cumin, salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice. Mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add more olive oil and/or lemon juice as needed. Let the mixture stand for at least 1 hour before serving.