Sunday, September 27, 2009

Parsley Overload? Tabouleh Is the Answer

There's too much parsley!

My garden is full of lush, rich green, glossy Italian flat-leaf parsley. The little sprig from Dehn's Garden that I planted in springtime has erupted into a leafy mound, all but smothering its neighboring plants.

October comes this week, and I'm in a produce panic. If I don't use this parsley, then spiteful frosts will just take it all away from me. I'm madly trying to eat a whole summer's worth of fresh herbs in the dwindling weeks of warm weather that remain. How am I going to manage it?

Tabouleh to the rescue!

If you hunt around, you will find there is no one way to make (or spell) tabouleh. The common elements, though, are finely chopped vegetables, bulgur, oil, lemon juice, and fistful upon fistful of chopped herbs. This is one of the few dishes I know that features parsley instead of relegating it to sideshow status or including it as an also-ran aromatic. In tabouleh, parsley is no mere Miss Congeniality. It gets to stand in the spotlight and sing its own song. Its bracing, clean taste makes this light dish pop with fresh, green flavor and color.

If I were you, I'd march into the garden and scythe down a huge hank of parsley. If you don't, then winter will most assuredly do it soon. Tastes better this way, trust me.


To measure whole herb leaves, pack as many into the cup as you can make fit. This will be a pretty good measure of how much chopped herb you'll get from them.

2 c boiling water
1 c bulgur
2 ripe tomatoes
1 small onion
2 c parsley leaves (or any giant bunch of parsley you have)
1 c mint leaves
1/3 c olive oil
1/3 c fresh lemon juice
Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Stir the bulgur into the boiling water (off the heat) and cover. Let sit for 1/2 hour.

Meanwhile, chop the onion and tomato finely. Chop up the parsley and mint too. Whisk the olive oil and lemon juice together.

When the bulgur is ready, put it in a sieve and press it to drain off the extra water. Put everything together in a bowl, add salt and pepper to taste, and mix it up thoroughly.

You can serve this chilled or room temperature. You can serve it on a bed of romaine if you are feeling particularly freaked out about summer being over.

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