Now that summer is upon us, I've been on a bit of a bulgur salad kick. I've
been experimenting with different regional interpretations of salads
prepared with soaked bulgur. They have amazing flavor, since they usually
contain a lot of fresh herbs and vegetables and require no cooking, or at
the most, a soak in boiling water.
I also feel that these salads are a powerhouse of fiber and vitamins
(especially vitamin A and folic acid), yet my finicky digestive tract has no
trouble digesting them. I really love cold salads, even when it's not hot
outside, but when it IS hot, they are wonderfully cooling.
I am loosely basing my creations on the different variations in my Claudia
Roden book: The New Book of Middle Eastern Food. I know some people on this
list don't like her, but I find her recipes delightful. Here's one recipe I
made that was based on Roden's recipe for the Turkish bulgur salad known as
Batrik. I added the chopped leaves of one bunch of parsley, because I like
parsley. Otherwise, the recipe is faithful to Roden's original.
3/4 cup fine-ground bulgur
1 pound tomatoes, peeled, cored, and blended
1 teaspoon tomato paste
3 Tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
a pinch or more of crushed red pepper flakes
Leaves of one bunch of parsley, chopped
1 small mild onion or 5 scallions, finely chopped
1/2 cup walnuts or pistachios, or a mixture of the two (I chopped the nuts
and topped the salad with them)
Mix bulgur with the blended tomatoes and tomato paste and leave for an hour
or until the grain has become tender. Add a little water if it hasn't.
Add the oil, salt, and red pepper flakes.
Before serving stir in the parsley, onion, and nuts.
Today, I made one that was completely different and contained scallions,
mint, parsley, chopped jalapenos and finely chopped tomatoes (I cored,
peeled, and seeded them because that's my preference). It also had lots of
fresh lemon juice, oilve oil, plus a bit of tomato paste, and the bulgur was
softened in boiling water, then squeezed dry in a collander. I plan to keep
experimenting with different proportions, herbs, and vegetables. Each salad
has a different character and I can't make up my mind that one is better