Each week I contribute an article to “Whole Foods Market Cooking Boulder” website expanding on one of the 10 Ways Tuesday ideas. Here is the original article for Winter Tabbouleh:
This week at la Domestique I’m welcoming the holiday season with pomegranates, a festive fruit shaped just like a Christmas ornament. One of my favorite ways to use pomegranates is in Winter Tabbouleh, a recipe I came across in the cookbook Gourmet Today. Tabbouleh is a traditional Lebanese salad made with fresh herbs and bulgur associated with easy summer cooking. Gourmet credits this cold weather version to Samuel and Samantha Clark of Moro, a London restaurant. The Clarks also share their cuisine in beautifully photographed cookbooks full of Spanish and Muslim Mediterranean-inspired recipes. In everything they do you’ll find lively flavor, a dedication to cooking with the seasons, and a love of gathering people together. Their Winter Tabbouleh is perfect for the holiday season of parties and celebrations.
While reading Arabesque, by Claudia Roden, I learned of the tradition of mezze, small plates served with drinks (like tapas) — a tradition the Lebanese have embraced whole-heartedly. Mezze is about enjoying a great variety of foods with unique textures and flavors to stimulate the palate. The Lebanese see mezze as an opportunity to socialize, everyone picking tasty bites off small plates and sharing. As I researched more about mezze I discovered tabbouleh is often enjoyed as part of the spread. A generous mound of it is served on a platter with lettuce leaves which are used by diners to scoop up the salad. It’s a fun and brightly colored dish that easily feeds a crowd.
Winter Tabbouleh combines jeweled pomegranate seeds, hearty bulgur, bitter endive, licorice-laced fennel, and walnuts with the bright notes of parsley and mint. A note on bulgur: it’s a quick-cooking grain that requires only a 10 minute soak in hot water. Here at high altitude in Colorado, I found the coarse bulgur needed to soak for 20 minutes to get a tender texture. The dressing incorporates pomegranate molasses with cinnamon, garlic, and olive oil. An invention of Middle Eastern cuisine, pomegranate molasses is a thick and concentrated juice with complex sweet-tart flavor. Give Winter Tabbouleh a try to experience the different flavors of fresh and bottled pomegranate and embrace the tradition of mezze by sharing this dish at your next holiday gathering.
Recipe for Winter Tabbouleh
from The Gourmet Today cookbook, by Sam and Sam Clark of Moro
Serves 4-6 as a side dish; 2-3 as a main dish
Ingredients for Tabbouleh
1 ¼ cups (7 ounces) coarse bulgur
1 large Belgian endive, halved lengthwise, cored, and coarsely chopped
1 medium fennel bulb, stalks discarded, bulb quartered lengthwise, cored, and coarsely chopped
1 ½ cups tiny cauliflower florets (no larger than ½ inch in diameter)
6 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons walnuts, coarsely chopped
Seeds from 1 large pomegranate (about 1 1/3 cups)
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Ingredients For Dressing
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon water
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
Pinch of freshly ground pepper
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon sugar (optional)
Make the tabbouleh: Cover bulgur with warm water by 2 inches in a bowl and soak for 10 minutes. Drain bulgur well in a sieve and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in endive, fennel, cauliflower, parsley, mint, walnuts, and pomegranate seeds until combined.
Make the dressing: Stir together garlic, cinnamon, molasses, water, sea salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified. Dressing will be very tart; add sugar to sweeten if desired.
Finish the salad: Just before serving, toss tabbouleh with dressing, sea salt, and pepper.