Traditionally tabouleh has a sour and tangy edge to it. The texture of the cracked wheat, the lemon, diced tomatoes, parsley, green onions, extra virgin olive oil, etc. I love all of those things, but we wanted to do something special that would stand out in a pleasant way, be savored, remembered and longed for years to come. Now I’m one for evolution in the pot; and although I believe in maintaining the traditions of a dish the flip side of me is equally given to fusing worlds in the culinary lineage. My wife and I recently catered a party where they asked for something interesting, middle eastern, but "unique". One of the dishes we prepared was a gourmet tabouleh.
If you know me you know that I believe in a lot of flavor; so I started out with my exotic ingredients. I call them that mainly because they aren’t usually in your traditional tabouleh, but I didn’t care… I wanted something that would stand out, right?!
Lavender flowers and leaves, basil, mint, tomatoes, garlic, onion, tarragon, dill weed, extra virgin olive oil, lemon peel, parsley, lemon balm and a couple of vegetarian chicken flavored bouillon cubes all went to work. We had a literal ball making this one. We made enough for 35 people and watched it unfold right in front of our eyes, and disappear even faster.
Here’s the list:
1 1/2 cups bulgur wheat
3/4 cups grape tomatoes sliced lengthwise
1/2 cups kalamata olives
1/4 cup chopped purple basil
1/4 cup chopped Thai sweet basil
1/4 cup chopped lemon balm
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup fresh chopped mint leaves
3 cloves crushed and minced garlic
1/4 minced red onion
1/4 cup chopped lavender flowers and leaves
1 vegetarian chicken bouillon cube
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup dried organic cranberries
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp mustard
1/8 cup evaporated cane juice
1 tsp dried dill weed
1. Heat your olive oil in a sauce pan; add your onions, salt and sauté until translucent.
2. Add stir in minced garlic and heat through stirring for one minute and add bouillon cube and incorporate into onion garlic mixture.
3. Add water and bring to a rapid boil.
4. Add bulgur wheat, stir, cover and reduce heat to low for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
5. In a blender add your vinegar, olive oil, mustard, evaporated cane juice and blend on high until completely mixed [emulsified]
6. In a large bowl or sink, create an ice bath [place ice and enough water in it to let the ice move freely – this is for the bulgur to cool quickly]
7. Empty bulgur in a mixing bowl small enough to fit inside of ice bath [you want it to be able to have the water surround the bowl but not overflow into it.]
8. Place bowl with bulgur into ice bath and fold a few times to bring down the heat
9. Fold in the rest of your ingredients along with the contents of your blender.
10. Once your tabouleh has finished chilling [cold], you can serve it inside of a pepper, hollowed out baked potato, roasted potato, etc., whatever looks good to your eye and fits your theme and garnish with some fresh lavender flowers and you’re ready to go.
If you follow these steps and serve this to your guests, you’re bound to go down in gourmet history!
As always, it’s been my pleasure sharing good food with you. Until next time…