Taboula at the Chef Abod Restaurant in Halifax
The Salad appetizer you see pictured above was served at the Chef Abod Restaurant in Halifax. It is a classic dish, widely eaten across the entire Middle East, and has a number of variations. I have had it a fair number of times, and generally enjoyed it, but the version prepared at Chef Abod’s is probably the best I have ever had.
Taboula also appears on menus and in cookery books as ‘Tabouleh’ or ‘Tabouli’, and a few other spelling variants as well. For those unfamiliar, it is a vegetarian salad od the Arab world whose classic form contains of chopped Parsley, soaked Bulgur grains, chopped Tomato, Onion and Mint, all dressed in a seasoned blend of Olive Oil and Lemon Juice. The ratio of Parsley to Bulgur can vary from place to place, and sometimes Semolina is used, but the basic theme is a common dish throughout the Levant.
My first experiences of this dish were in other people’s homes before trying them in restaurant’s and I have even made it myself. One thing I often find is that the Parsley, especially if it dominates the dish, can have a bit of a harsh, almost bitter edge to it. I am not sure if this comes a result of any interaction with other ingredients, or only where the Parsley sits too long after being chopped.
At Chef Abod’s, the Parsley was fresh, bright tasting, and had none of the harshness I have experienced in other renditions, including my own. The Mint was added in just the right amount to complement the Parsley and the Onion, chopped in fairly small pieces, lent a little bite to the other herbal flavors.
The Bulgur, in this case, appeared in a ratio to the Parsley that I thought was abut perfect and it was cooked very well, with each grain being tender and all nicely separated. The Olive Oil dressing was deftly applied, and the Lemon juice added only sufficiently so as to provide a pleasing tang that didn’t overwhelm. In all, I would be very please if I could produce a version of this dish that matched the Taboula at Chef Abod.