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A couple of weekends ago we had some friends over for lunch. We live on the top floor of a 100-year old building and during the summer it is hot. Turning on the oven is not an option when we are entertaining, so we tend to serve things that can be prepared in advance. In fact, I am developing quite a repertoire of recipes that can be prepared in advance and served cold or room temperature. This farmers market tabbouleh is being added to that ever-growing list. I was inspired by something I’d seen in the Morito cookbook, an assortment of tabbouleh that adapt to the seasons.

This is one of the few times you could find me at the farmers market actually being inspired (spontaneously!) by the season. I usually have a plan— lists, even! But there I was like a genuine Alice Waters-zombie creating this dish in my mind’s eye. Throwing vegetables in my bag like a real farm-to-table free spirit who woke up like this. You should do the same, because with this sort of recipe not much could go wrong. I used a bunch of early summer vegetables (asparagus, fava beans, sugar snap peas) and piles of fresh dill and parsley. You can use any vegetables you like, and I mean that. I normally hate when recipes tell me that I can do whatever I like (but I want you to tell me what I like) but in this case it is true. Cook each vegetable in a way that leaves it with some crunch. For instance, I very briefly blanched the favas and the peas the day before and kept them in the fridge overnight (I’d do the same with all peas/beans). I charred the asparagus in a cast iron skillet (I would probably char peppers and zucchini too). Chop the vegetables into bite-sized pieces and you are good to do. I prepared all of the vegetables the night before and kept them in the refrigerator so they were ready to go for lunch.

We served this with some marinated mozzarella and tomatoes [1] and an eggplant puree [2]. It was the perfect summer lunch.

Early Summer Tabbouleh (inspired by Morito [3])

Prepare the bulgur: This usually involves pouring boiling water over the grain and letting it sit until the mixture is absorbed. Then, run a fork through the bulgur to fluff it, like you would couscous. (I use this [4] bulgur from Bob’s Red Mill and you pour 1 cup of boiling water over the 1 cup of bulgur.)

Make the dressing: Put the garlic, cinnamon, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small jar and shake to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning.

In a large bowl, combine the bulgur, vegetables, and chopped herbs and toss to combine them. Pour 3/4 of the prepared dressing over the salad, toss again, and taste for seasoning. You may need to add more dressing or salt. Serve at room temperature, or chilled. Serves 4-6.