Admit it: Our bodies crave simple, healthy foods sometimes. For some people, it’s fewer times than others, but it’s a good thing to listen for that moment your body says, “OK, I need a break.”
When I switch gears to lightly cooked or raw foods, my body feels like I just downed a glass of that fizzy vitamin C water. Or like I think my garden does when I spread around a bunch of compost and fish emulsion. Vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, less-processed carbs and not-so-fatty protein.
This salmon tabbouleh combines all kinds of ingredients that inspire that feeling. I’m not the world’s biggest fan of parsley, so I make tabbouleh that’s heavy on the bulgur, and I replace about half the parsley with cilantro.
Pan-Fried Salmon Tabbouleh
Traditional tabbouleh is more like a parsley salad with a little bulgur mixed in, so adjust proportions to your liking. When buying the bulgur, make sure it’s not cracked wheat. Look at the directions if you’re not sure. If it calls for boiling in water, you have the wrong kind. (At least for this recipe, which calls for the par-cooked bulgur that is soaked in water.) As with most bulgur and couscous salads, it doesn’t matter if some ingredients are hot and others are warm or cold.
3/4 cup bulgur
4 firm vine tomatoes
2-3 spring onions
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
1 large bunch flat leaf parsley
Large handful mint leaves
3-4 cups (about 3 1/2 oz.) small young spinach leaves
4 fresh salmon fillets, skinned
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Boil the kettle and measure off 1 cup water into a mixing bowl. Add the bulgur. Cover the dish and leave to soak for 15 minutes while you place a sieve over a bowl and quarter the tomatoes lengthways. Scrape the seeds and juices into the sieve. Using the back of a spoon, press the seeds and juices against the side of the sieve to extract the maximum juice.
Coarsely chop the tomatoes. Trim and finely slice the spring onions. Whisk together the tomato juice, lemon juice and olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper and stir the mixture into the bulgur. Stir in the spring onions and then the tomatoes. Pick the leaves off the parsley stalks and chop. Shred the mint leaves. Stir both into the bulgur. Add the spinach and stir again.
Now cook the salmon. Heat a nonstick frying pan over medium heat. If you wish, paint the fish with a little cooking oil and season with salt, although the heat will release the fish’s natural oils. Arrange the salmon in the pan. Cook for 2 minutes a side, pressing down to encourage crusty edges and until just cooked but still moist. Lift out of the pan and allow to cool. Flake the fish into ragged chunks. Gently mix the fish into the salad and serve. Serves 6.
— From “Just One Pot” by Lindsey Bareham (Cassell, $14.99)