This salad, which is always present on a mezze, is the essence of Lebanese cuisine. When it is properly made, it is like being thrust into a garden: the fragrance imparted by the fresh parsley is incredibly titillating. There is no other salad in the world with such a shock value for the senses. That is why, when I am ready to make tabbooleh, I know it will take some time and patience! I pick the parsley and mint leaves leisurely while watching TV or listening to music, I chop the leaves by hand with a sharp knive, I dice the tomatoes and onion methodically, I juice the lemons, all the while knowing that the result will be to my utmost satisfaction. This is the only way to make tabbooleh, and I cannot stress it enough! don’t trust a mix, don’t buy your tabbooleh at a deli in the supermarket (horror), only rely on trusted hands (yours!).
4 bunches of italian parsley
1 large onion (or 4 green onions)
1 bunch of fresh mint
4 large tomatoes (vine or heirloom)
1/2 cup of bulgur #1 (extra fine)
2 or 3 lemons
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
salt, pepper, pinch of allspice (optional)
1. Wash and dry the parley and mint
2. Pick the leaves and discard the stems from the herbs
3. Slowly chop the herbs with a sharp knife until they are chopped very finely, as fine as you can get them
4. Wash the onions, and chop them very fine
5. Wash the tomatoes and dice them in very small little cubes
6. Rinse the bulgur, and let it sit in a bowl with some cold water to cover or lemon juice for 3 minutes. Then, drain it into a sieve, pressing with a wooden spoon until dry.
7. Assemble the tabbooleh: In a serving bowl, put the parsley and mint, then the onion, then the tomatoes, then the bulgur.
8. Prepare the dressing: juice 2 large lemons or enough to equal 1/2 cup of juice; add the extra virgin olive oil and the spices and mix with a fork to emulsify.
9. Pour the dressing on the tabbooleh right before serving and mix the salad thoroughly.
10. Serve with some cabbage or romaine or iceberg leaves placed on a side bowl to use individually to spoon the salad in. If you have some fresh and tender vine leaves you can use them as well to cup the salad in. Sahteyn!