Wednesday, August 26, 2009
The only tabbouleh I have ever had was storebought and I didn't like it. I liked the look of the ingredient list of the Tabbouleh in Food Matters - Mark Bittman's "way." He adds many more vegetables than are traditional.
One fun part of this recipe was that it called for fava beans. It took me forever to find these dried. I looked at every grocery store and farmers' market. Ken finally found them for me in the Mexican section at Whole Foods. But I walked over to the farmers' market the other day for some fruit and other ingredients, and I noticed while walking up and down the aisles that they had fresh fava beans. Some of them looked really good, but some were kind of browning and weird looking. I didn't know how to choose fresh fava beans but I figured they should be bright and plump looking. Lucky for me, I later found a website showing how to choose and prepare fresh fava beans, which assured me that I had been looking for the right qualities. When it came time to prepare them, I took the beans out of the pods, steamed them, then popped the edible part out of their little waxy shell. You have to shell these beans twice! But they were pretty good - I am not a big bean fan, but I liked them in the tabbouleh. The fresh beans were a little agonizing to prepare though, so next time I might try frozen or make the dried ones if I have enough time.
The recipe also calls for a lot of parsley and mint. Since I had a lot going on, Ken chopped it up for me. The recipe says "roughly chopped," but it was a little too roughly chopped so we decided that "roughly chopped" was not the best instrution and next time we will chop them more finely. Another change I would make from the recipe is the bulgur. With all the chunky vegetables, I think coarser bulgur should be used rather than the fine bulgur that is called for. I used coarse because that's what we had on hand, and I thought it was great. Because of the large amount of vegetables there isn't much grain in each bite anyway, so I think it would get lost with a fine bulgur.
We really liked the tabbouleh and I particularly love the lemon juice, and that it is packed with a variety of veggies. It is also suited well to adaptations, so you can probably change it up based on what you have on hand. I hope the leftovers are just as good tomorrow and I will definitely be making this again - I think it would be a great picnic salad!