Food & Drink

Strawberries freshen up savory dish

Fresh strawberries are piled after being picked from a field run in Watsonville, Calif., on April 7.
Fresh strawberries are piled after being picked from a field run in Watsonville, Calif., on April 7. Tribune News Service

Strawberries need no adornment. Make that “fresh, ripe strawberries” need no adornment. My favorite way to eat them is when they’re at room temperature and just washed. Grasp the berry’s stem firmly and lean over the sink. Now take a big bite. Perfection — no recipe needed.

But even when it’s prime time for strawberries, not every strawberry can stand alone. Some are picked too soon, others lose their shiny appeal too quickly. But they’re still strawberries, and even if they’re not perfect for shortcake, they can be used creatively.

This unconventional take on the Middle Eastern salad makes perfect sense once you take a bite: The strawberries add sweet-tart freshness. When strawberries are out of season, substitute roasted baby beets.

Make ahead: The tabbouleh can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, but it’s best the day it’s made.

The recipe is adapted by The Washington Post from “The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl + Spoon,” by Sara Forte (Ten Speed Press, $25, 256 pages).

STRAWBERRY TABBOULEH

3/4 cup medium-coarse bulgur

1 1/2 cups water

1 clove garlic, finely minced

3 scallions, white and light-green parts, thinly sliced

2 to 3 baby zucchini (about 8 ounces total), cut into 1/4-inch dice (may substitute small cucumbers)

1/3 cup finely chopped mint leaves

1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest and 2 tablespoons juice (from 1 large lemon)

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or more as needed

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup crumbled sheep’s milk feta cheese (optional)

1 pint strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

Rinse and drain the bulgur. Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat; add the bulgur, turn off the heat, cover and let sit for 25 to 30 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the garlic, fluff with a fork and let cool.

Transfer to a mixing bowl; add the scallions, zucchini, mint, parsley, oil, vinegar, lemon zest and juice, the salt, pepper and cheese, if using; toss to incorporate. Gently fold in the strawberries.

Taste, and add salt as needed. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Makes 6 servings.

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