Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tabbouleh Salad

One of my favorite Baltimore restaurants is Lebanese Tavern, in Harbor East. I think that is a pretty underrated place, which is sad since it serves the best food in the city. Yes, that is a restaurant chain, but still owned by a family. The interior design is the interesting mixture of modern influence and Middle Eastern touches, nice restrooms, patio outside with a seaview, and most importantly great food. Honestly, who can resist complimentary Lebanese warm flat bread with olive oil with herbs? And, delicious lamb dishes... But, my favorite is their meze platter. It usually comes with nine different stuff... humus, tahini, stuffed grape leaves, cream cheese... tabbouleh salad, babaganoush, and meat pie. The last time when I was there, I decided to make the last three dishes. 

I used to make tabbouleh salad before, but this time I wanted to add some twist, and it turned out quite amazing. Original tabbouleh salad is made from bulgur, parsley, tomatoes, onion and mint. But, I replaced burglar with couscous, and I added roasted pine nuts that gave a very rich and nutty flavor. Pine nuts are rather expensive, but you should know how difficult and time consuming it is to get pine seeds. Once, my girlfriends brought me pinecones full of pine seeds from Montenegro. It was a heck of a job to crack pine nut shells and seeds were so tiny... it took me half of a day to get half of cup.

You need:
  • Bunch of flat parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 Tbs. fresh mint
  • 3 Tbs. pine nuts, roasted
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
To make couscous:
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • Salt

  1. Chop and slice ingredients. Add seasoning.  And toss it.
  2. Make couscous. Bring water to boil. Add salt and olive oil. Remove it from the stove. Pour couscous in the hot water and cover the pan. Leave it for 10 minutes. When it is done, stir couscous with a fork.
  3. Serve couscous on the plate and add salad on it, and roasted pine nuts on the very top.

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