I might not be able to eat the lilacs, but they are the heralds of delicious spring produce. I get particularly excited about asparagus when it is in season, and in this home, we love radishes. Since I had an over-abundance of medium-grain bulgur in the cupboard (after buying a package when I already had one…happens a lot around here), I decided to try a spring vegetable take on Tabbouleh, a hearty salad of Middle Eastern origin. All the Tabbouleh recipes I’ve seen have lemon juice, olive oil, and lots of herbs. My porch garden is going strong (more about that in another post, I hope), so I had the herbs covered, and I try to keep a lemon or two around for just such an occasion.
I find asparagus to be one of those fruits of the earth that can be totally ruined by cooking it (especially over-cooking), and I actually quite like it raw. I chopped the asparagus and radishes into pieces roughly the size of the peas. I find that salads of chopped vegetables are more appealing when the pieces are of similar size. Fresh peas can only make this salad better. I didn’t have any, but helped tidy up the freezer by using up the last of the frozen ones I did have. I’m waiting (not so) patiently for the first box of vegetables from the CSA so I can make this salad again. It’s a big bowl of salad, but will last several days in the refrigerator.
Spring Vegetable Tabbouleh
Use thin asparagus spears if you can and chop them and the radishes about the same size as the peas.
1 cup medium grain bulgur
1 ¼ cup boiling water
1 teaspoon salt, divided
¼ cup lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped thin asparagus (about 12 spears)
3 large radishes, finely chopped
½ cup peas, fresh or frozen
¼ cup chopped green onions
¼ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
1. Place the bulgur in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over the bulgur. Add ½ teaspoon salt and stir. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at least 20 minutes or until the bulgur absorbs the water.
2. In a small bowl, combine the garlic and lemon juice. Let stand 10 minutes. Add the olive oil and whisk until well combined
3. Add asparagus, radishes, peas, green onions, parsley, mint, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt to the bulgur. Stir gently to combine. Add lemon juice mixture and stir well. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes.
Makes 6-8 servings, and leftovers can stay in the refrigerator 4 days or so (if they last that long).
Third photo on this page by Harry Leckenby (he's just a better photographer than I am!)