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Food Friday Recipe: Tastebud-Tantalizing "Taboulie"

Julie Taboulie

Tune in to Food Friday this week, when Emmy-nominated Chef Julie Taboulie will join us in the studio to talk about Middle Eastern and Lebanese cuisine!

Tastebud-Tantalizing "Taboulie"????

Taboulie ~ An overly fresh and finely chopped parsley, mint, scallion, tomato and bulgur wheat salad spiked with fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground pepper.Originating in the mountains of Mount Lebanon, it is known as the “Queen Salata” throughout the land as this finely and freshly chopped signature salad consists of fresh parsley, mint, scallions, vine-ripe-ruby-red tomatoes, and very fine bulgur wheat which combine together with fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground pepper making for a refreshing and light Lebanese salad that is incredibly bright and burstful to the taste.

In Lebanese culture there is really no gathering, no get together, no dinner, lunch, and afternoon brunch or Sunday family meal for that matter without a big bowl of taboulie on the table. This special salad typically accompanies most Lebanese dishes and is served as part of the Mezze as well as alongside an array of main courses making for mouthwatering and memorable Lebanese luscious meals. It is traditionally served and scooped up with fresh crisp hearts of romaine lettuce leaves, or young and tender fresh-from-the vine grape leaves, and petite crisp cabbage leaves too. It’s tasty, it’s tangy, and it’s taste-bud-tantalizing “Taboulie!”

? 2-3 fresh flat-leaf parsley bunches (3-4 cups), very finely shredded (remove thick stems). Preferably flat-leaf large leafy parsley leaves versus its crunchy curly cousin counterpart

? 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, very finely shredded (remove stems)

? 1/2 cup bulgur wheat (#1 fine), soak and soften in 2 cups cold water

? 3-4 tomatoes-on-the-vine (1 cup), very finely diced into small bite-size squares. Select medium sized tomatoes that are somewhat firm and vibrant vine-ripe-ruby-red in color

? 6 scallions-spring green onions (1/2 cup), trim end roots and very finely slice into small circles

? 3-4 lemons (3/4 to 1 cup), freshly juiced

? 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

? 1 tablespoon sea salt

? 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground pepper

* Gluten Free Version: simply substitute 1 cup of cooked and completely cold QuinoaINSPIRING

1. At least 30 minutes ahead of time, thoroughly pre-wash parsley bunches and mint leaves. If store bought, it is best to remove the ties and then fan out the parsley and mint leaves with your fingertips first, then rinse the fresh herbs under cold running water or wash in a cold water bath to remove any and all particles, debris or sand. Remove from water and ring out by shaking out as much excess water as possible from the parsley and mint bunches. Then place in a colander, stem sides down and leaves side up to drain and air dry. You are looking for the majority of the moisture to be removed from the parsley and mint leaves and for them to be air dry as possible yet crispy and slightly crunchy but not wilted. Keynote: You can also use a salad spinner. It is essential that the parsley and mint leaves are dry to achieve the correct texture and taste of taboulie

2. Next, place the fine bulgur wheat into a medium size bowl and completely cover with 2 cups of cold water. Then set aside to soak and soften on standby.

3. With a super sharp serrated knife finely slice the tomatoes into very small dices. The best way is to slice the tomatoes width-wise into about ½ inch. circles then slice thin strips going vertically and then going across horizontally to create small bite-size-squares. Keynote: You can also stack a couple of the tomato circles on top of one another before dicing. Then place the finely diced tomatoes along with all of their delicious tomato juices into the bottom of a large mixing bowl.

4. Now, trim and finely slice scallions, both the green and white parts. The best way is by bunching the scallions together somewhat securely, start on one end and work your way down by slicing them into thin small circles, and then add them over the finely diced tomatoes into the large bowl.

5. Gather about a half bunch to a full bunch of the parsley at a time (this depends upon how large the bunches are and how much you are able to manage comfortably), then cut off the end tough thick stems and keep the smaller thin tender stems. Then, gather the bunch with one hand and pull all of the parsley leaves in together tightly and with the other hand, beginning at the bottom of the bunch, start finely slicing the thin stems working your way up by cutting into the parsley leaves into thin shreds. Repeat this technique for all of the parsley and place into the large bowl. Then, finely shred the mint leaves, by layering the leaves on top of one another, rolling them up, and then slicing through the leaves into thin small strips or simply bunch the leaves together and thinly slice. Then place the finely shredded mint leaves over the parsley in the large bowl.

6. By now, the fine bulgur wheat that is soaking should be softened. Simply test this by squeezing some of the softened small cracked wheat between your fingertips, it should be able to sort of squish when you rub it between your fingertips and be completely soft with no firmness. If it is still firm, then simply set aside allowing it to continue to soak and move along to the proceeding steps, you will add it in afterward once it is ready.

7. Dip one of your hands into the bowl of the soaked bulgur wheat, gather as much of the grains as you can with your hand, bring it above the bowl and by making a tight fist begin to thoroughly squeeze as much of the water out from the grains as possible and then release it by sprinkling it over the fresh herbs and vegetables. Repeat this about two to three more times until you have managed to gather as much of the soaked grains as possible, about 1 cup.

8. Then pour in the fresh lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper to the large Taboulie bowl, begin by tossing all of the ingredients together, preferably by hand (the Lebanese way), it should be nice and juicy but not oily, soaked or soggy.

Taboulie is best tossed and eaten the same day as you make it as this creates the tastiest Taboulie in terms of texture and taste. Serve at once and scoop up each Taboulie bite with fresh crisp hearts of romaine lettuce leaves, or young and tender fresh-from-the-vine grape leaves, and petite crisp cabbage leaves too for a superior scrumptious salad! Takloull bil’ Hanna! Eat in Happiness! Inactive cooking time: 30 minutes.

Actual cooking time: 30 minutes. Total time: 60 minutes. ? Vegetarian ? Vegan ? Dairy-Lactose Free ? Gluten Free Version Use Quinoa ? Heart Healthy ? Serves: 6

Copyright© 2014 Julie Ann Sageer, Julie Taboulie® Lebanese Cuisine. All Rights Reserved.

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