Life is slowly getting back to normal. Kind of. I’m back at work, so have bid fare-thee-well to Baked Relief. The clean-up is chugging along. Though remnants of the disaster remain – think packing crates lodged in treetops – and probably will for some time, becoming unsanctioned public art. And despite a good downpour, there’s still a faint brown dust over large wads of the city. But the weather is grand. A masterful distraction. Summer, at its finest. At last. In feats of unparalleled irony, the sun returned just as the floods hit their high notes, after what seemed like months of rainy greyness. Last weekend was the first solid run of sunshine we’ve had in galactic years. After a spell of soup-making during the cooler weather, I’m embracing the return of salad days.
This one – inspired by a simple jar of bulgur (cracked wheat) sitting on the shelf for far too long. What I knew about bulgur you could glean from a tabbouleh recipe (and promptly forget until you made it again the following summer). What I discovered is a lovely little wholegrain, not unlike couscous (made from durum wheat) but with higher fibre and protein, and a low glycaemic index, meaning it packs more bang-per-bite, energy-wise. You can check out its nutrition credentials at leisure. I’m guessing that almost anything you can make with couscous you could make with bulgur. It’s a little bit nutty and has a slightly chewy texture. And cooks in 15 minutes – about the same time it takes to (properly) cook instant couscous. Or rice, for that matter.
This salad has simple flavours of lemon, pepper, garlic and a kiss of salty goodness. Perfect summer flavours, no? You could take this salad endless different ways. I’m hooked.
Use whatever greens you have at hand: I used snake beans and brocolli, but asparagus and peas would work well too. Serve with crumbled feta or goats cheese, or olives – or both. You could mix in whole rocket (aragula) leaves – mine weren’t the freshest on the block so I chopped them up and mixed them in for peppery zing.
1/2 cup course bulgur wheat
big handful rocket (aragula)
half head of brocolli, broken into florets
6 snake beans, cut into 3 cm pieces
handful pine nuts, toasted
1 spring onion, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
zest of one lemon and juice of half
1 tbspn olive oil
sea-salt and pepper to taste
Pour boiling water to just cover bulgur wheat and let stand for 15 minutes or until al dente. Drain off any excess water and place in bowl. Place brocolli and beans in boiling water for a minute and refresh in cold water to stop them cooking.
Add the greens, onions and lemon zest to the bulgur and stir through. If you’re using chopped rocket, stir this in as well.
In a separate bowl, mix lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and sea-salt and pepper. Just before serving, dress the salad with the lemon/oil mix and sprinkle over pine nuts, and cheese and olives if you’re using these.
Serves two as a main or four as a side.