Well that was the shortest Spring ever.
I make it three weeks between the March Equinox and the blue sky, sun’s out, love handles out, too-hot-to-work British Summer Time that we seem to be in now. No doubt the (just opened) leaves will start falling in another three weeks and then we’ll be fully into Winter sleet and long braised comfort food before May is over. Good stuff.
What to eat during this heatwave? Well, clearly, fresh, vibrant, zingy and light food is in order.
Grilled or griddled fish comes to mind, doused with lemon juice and served with a bitter leaf salad or a crisp, mandolined, radish and fennel number. To bulk it up a little, consider a tabbouleh. Not an 80’s style bulgar wheat salad with a sprinkling of parsley. Rather, a parsley and mint salad, with a sprinkling of bulgar wheat and a little spice. The bold flavours of the herbs dance around and are a perfect foil for what’s ultimately an early hint at what the real Summer might have in store (but probably won’t).
This recipe was originally published as part of my herb guide series for Borough Market. Filed under ‘Parsley‘.
- 250g flat leaf parsley (c.120g when picked and chopped)
- 35g mint (c.25g when picked and chopped)
- 35g bulgar wheat (c.100g after hydrating with boiled water
- 180g tomato (2-3)
- 20g shallot, finely diced
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- ½ course teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cloves
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 80g pomegranate seeds
Wash and dry the parsley as instructed in this herb guide. Put the bulgar wheat in a bowl. Pour boiling water to 5cm above the wheat and allow to sit and cook for 5-10 minutes.
Dice the tomatoes into 5-7mm cubes. Place in mixing bowl with the finely diced shallot (as ‘fine’ as you can without mincing), a pinch of salt, the olive oil and lemon juice.
Briefly heat the cumin, pepper and cloves in a dry pan to release aroma. Put in a pestle and mortar with the salt and grind. Add the other spices. Add to the tomatoes and mix.
Drain the bulgar wheat in a sieve. Cool with cold water and set aside to drain fully.
Now slice the parsley as finely as you can. Pick the leaves and thinnest stems from the bunch. Roll together like a cigar and slice to 1-3mm thick. This takes a bit of time, but persevere. Do the same with the mint.
Add the herbs and bulgar wheat to the tomatoes and spice. Mix well. Add two thirds of the pomegranate seeds. Mix again, then place in a serving bowl. Garnish with the remaining seeds.
Have as part of a mezze evening (traditionally it’s eating scooped up in little baby gem lettuce leaves) or as a salad to go with a BBQ or grilled fish or meat.