This is one of my favorite summer salads, often this salad can be made with considerably more oil than I use. When made with fresh ingredients, you can really cut the amount of oil and get all the flavor. It can be made with dried mint but I love the taste of fresh mint. I try to always have mint growing at home and at the cottage. I always grow it in a pot or planter because it’s a pretty invasive plant and if you plant it in the ground you will soon have mint everywhere. It can be contained nicely in a clay pot and then you can enjoy fresh mint all summer long and with a little luck well into the fall too. And really how can you get along without fresh mint? It’s essential for making mojitos.
This salad answers to a variety of names. It can be called cracked wheat salad, tabbouleh, parsley salad, bulgur salad. Some recipes call for flat Italian parsley others call for curly parsley. I made it with some of each as that’s what I have growing on the deck in Harbor Springs. I have curly parsley growing in the planters with flowers as a green filler where I might otherwise add ivy. I have a big planter of assorted herbs and have some flat leaf parsley growing there.
Cucumbers are in season in Michigan now and when I make this with the common type of cucumbers; I peel and seed the cucumbers before dicing them. The easiest way to seed a cucumber is to cut if in half length wise and then using a teaspoon, run the spoon down the center of the cucumber where the seeds are and they slide right out. If I use smaller cucumbers sometimes called pickle cucumbers I may or may not peel them and I don’t seed them. English cucumbers have smaller seeds and don’t need seeding either. The same holds true for Persian cucumbers. Tomatoes are relatively easy to seed too. I cut them in half around the middle with the stem being the top. Then holding them cut side down over the sink, I give them a gentle squeeze and the seeds fall out. Every single seed may not fall out but if a few are left, that’s good enough. Bulgur or cracked wheat comes in a variety of grinds. I usually prefer a medium or coarse grind to a fine grind but all I had on hand in Harbor Springs was fine grind, so that’s what I used.
1 ½ cups cracked wheat
1 cup hot water
Juice of 2 lemons, about 1/3 to ½ cup depending on the lemons
1 clove finely diced garlic
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
½ cup chopped fresh mint
1 large cucumber seeded and diced or 3 or 4 small pickle cucumbers diced
3 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
¾ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Mix bulgur and hot water and allow to sit in mixing bowl while preparing the remainder of ingredients. Once all ingredients are chopped, add lemon juice and all other ingredients to missing bowl. This can be made a day ahead.