Monday, 12 October 2015

Tasting Jerusalem #25 – Tabbouleh

Dee - When I found out that Tabbouleh was October 2015’s featured ingredient I was slightly worried, having made the Tabbouleh recipe as part of Tasting Jerusalem #22, where it was served on a flatbread with labneh and pickled chilli (click here for details).

Luckily all was not lost, and I found the recipe for Parsley and Barley Salad on page 81.  The commentary accompanying the recipe explains that the original name for the dish was Parsley and Barley Tabbouleh but was later changed as it was felt that it wasn’t recognizable enough to retain the Tabbouleh element.  For the purposes of this blog entry however, it was a perfect base for a little more experimentation.

Tabbouleh in its best known form, with parsley and bulgur wheat, is always a challenge for us at home as Jay doesn’t like parsley, so we either end up making two batches of it, or substituting the parsley with something else.  We’ve found that Kale works nicely in this regard; It has a different flavour profile to parsley, being more earthy and subtle, but still works well with the other ingredients.  I also decided to substitute the barley for Palestinian Maftoul, as I still had used some of it previously in Tasting Jerusalem #16 but still had some left over and uncooked. 
With these two substititions I can’t call this salad a Tabbouleh but I’m happier to present this than risk repeating myself by allocating the same recipe to two entries.

Kale and Maftoul Salad
The first stages of making this salad were to marinate the feta in a mixture of seeds, olive oil and za’atar.  This was a dry marinade, which was new to me, but I loved the idea and looked forward to seeing how it tasted.  With the inclusion of za’atar, I considered pairing this entry up with Tasting Jerusalem #24, but decided to keep the two separate to avoid confusion.
I then put the Maftoul on to cook as it takes longer than bulgur wheat.
The Kale that formed the backbone of this salad was washed and finely sliced before being fried on a little oil for just a few seconds to give it a nice rich colour and plenty of bite.
I also cooked the spring onion, garlic and green pepper, rather than leaving them raw as instructed in the recipe, as we were making this salad for lunches so didn’t want lingering onion or garlic breath.
Once the Kale and Maftoul were cooked, everything was combined and stirred together, with the cashew nuts, lemon juice, allspice and seasoning added last.  I only used a small pinch of allspice as I felt it was in danger of overpowering the rest of the salad.  That turned out to be for the best as both Jay and me were pleased with how the salad had turned out.
The feta, which topped the salad was a very fine garnish indeed, and the marinade worked extremely well to add extra spice and tang to each bite.  Yes it was another step away from a traditional Tabbouleh but in the end, a salad this good deserves a place in the spotlight.

“Tasting Jerusalem is a virtual cooking community exploring the vibrant flavors and cuisine of the Middle East through the lens of Jerusalem by Ottolenghi and Tamimi published by Ebury Press. You can follow along and cook with us by subscribing to  following the hashtag #TastingJrslm on Twitter and Instagram, liking our Facebook Page or joining our Google+ Community and finally checking out all of our groups’ dishes on Pinterest

(Please note: I have listed the UK publisher and have linked to the UK Amazon site.  The US details are provided on the web site)

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