Hi, everyone! This is Stephen, Lyn’s husband. I’m doing a guest post today.
Parsley… what to do with it? Several times a summer, our CSAs present us with big bunches of parsley. It is far more than one might want for garnish or flavoring. We could dry it, but dried parsley doesn’t keep its flavor as well as other herbs do. As a lover of world foods, though, one thing comes to my mind when I see a big bunch of parsley: Tabouli!
Tabouli is a middle eastern salad of parsley, mint leaves, and bulgur. The versions I made in our kitchen this summer were always from items at hand, so mine may not be particularly authentic. In any event, it is a light and refreshing dish, perfect for a summer evening meal.
Here is how I make Tabouli. It is a forgiving dish. I recommend measurement-free cooking for it.
1 large bunch of parsley. Flat parsley is best. A mix of flat and curly will work. Curly alone makes an odd texture and inferior flavor.
1 handful of fresh peppermint leaves. I usually aim for anything from 2-to-1 to 4-to-1 of parsley to mint, by volume. It depends on how much parsley we have and how much mint there is to harvest in our garden. I tried spearmint and can’t recommend it. Garden mint would probably be good.
2-3 small tomatoes or 1-2 larger ones, chopped. It is possible to put in too much tomato. A green-to-red ratio like Christmas holly is about right.
1/2 to 2 cups of a grain, cooked. Traditionally, this should be bulgur wheat. I’ve used couscous (not a success), quinoa (pretty tasty), and wheat berries (good flavor, but a bit chewy).
1 clove garlic, finely minced, and/or some onion, chopped
olive oil — extra virgin is nice, but any variety will work.
Combine the parsley and mint leaves, then chop them up finely. I like the texture best with pieces about 1/16″ in size. A food processor is the best way to do this. I’ve tried doing it by hand and don’t have the patience to get the pieces small enough.
Add the tomatoes and grain, as well as the onions or garlic.
Drizzle with olive oil and toss. Add olive oil if needed in order to get the leaves lightly coated, but not drenched.
Refrigerate until serving, and enjoy.
Lyn, Nick and Sally do not care for tabouli, which means I get to keep it to myself. It keeps fairly well for a few days in the fridge, so I can enjoy a batch in a few days of packed lunches.
It’s easy to make this a local-foods dish. Olive oil isn’t produced locally, but all of the other ingredients are available from growers near us. In fact, the herbs and tomatoes may be in your garden already!
As you can see, you need not fear a big bunch of parsley in your CSA box. Instead, whip up a batch of tabouli and enjoy a delicious summer treat.