I've decided I'm going to name my next cat, when I find it, Tabbouli. If it's a tabby, that is. And it probably will be, since I'm bound and determined to find a marmalade cat like our dearly departed Chester, one of those red-rather-than-orange types like Thomasina in The Three Lives of Thomasina.
My favorite movie as a child, I would weep through the whole thing, especially when she (of course) is returned to the child, Mary, at the end. It was only slightly ruined when I watched it with my son when he was four or five and he pointed out that Thomasina was played by two different cats with very different markings. So I told him that the Easter bunny and Santa were fakes. (Not really…)
Frikeh simmering on the stove.
What does this have to do with salad, you might ask? Well, I not only like the name Tabbouli, I also adore the grain salad with the same moniker. So when I ran across Eamon Molloy's recipe for a frikeh tabbouli in the Hillsdale Farmers' Market newsletter, I knew it was one I had to try and it didn't disappoint. It can also be made with other grains like farro, bulgur or couscous (not technically a grain, I know), but those obviously won't have the slightly smoky flavor imparted by the scorching of the wheat. (Frikeh has a notoriously short season unless, unlike me this year, you buy as much as you can and then freeze it for future use…d'oh!)
1 c. cooked frikeh (cooled)
6 Tbsp. olive oil
2 c. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (about 3 bunches)
1/2 c. finely chopped fresh mint (about two bunches)
2 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cucumber, peeled, cored and diced
1/2 c. finely diced sweet onion or scallions
6 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
To prepare the frikeh, rinse the grains and then combine one part frikeh and two parts water in a pot of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about a half hour. Frikeh can be used in recipes calling for rice or bulgher. Tabbouleh is simple summer salad where you can use frikeh. If using other grain, follow directions for its preparation.
Wash and dry parsley. Finely chop leaves and small tender stems. Wash and dry mint, remove leaves from stems and finely chop. Combine mint, parsley, onion, tomato and cucumber in a bowl. Add frikeh, olive oil and lemon juice.
Eamon adds a note at the end: "Tabbouleh recipes are, as Captain Barbosa in Pirates of the Caribbean would say, 'more like guidelines.' If you like more grain in your tabbouli, just add more frikeh."
More salads in the Smackdown: Kale Salad with Anchovies, Olives and Lemon and Panzanella.