The Hot Bulgarian

The Hot Bulgarian

So I like to post these photos on Facebook and Instagram of things I just sort of put together, last minute, no recipe kind of dishes. This one got a request for the recipe. SInce I don’t follow a recipe, I decided to jot it down as soon as I can, so I don’t forget what I chopped in there.
Cause one thing is for sure – there’ s a lot of chopping in this tabbouleh. I know all about the machines that promise to make your life faster and easier by chopping stuff for you.. well, I have them all, I wouldn’t do my tabbouleh in there.. Maybe I’m a tabbouleh snob, but I like my chopped cucumbers in nice square shapes, edges in tact. I think it contributes to the taste of the dish. The machines tend to make stuff mushy and it starts releasing its juice too early. You don’t want that. You want the juices concealed as much as possible, so when you start tossing it with lemon juice and olive oil and some Himalayan salt, that veggies are still discernable.
The traditional Bulgarian “shopska” salad is tomatoes and cucumbers with onions parsley and feta cheese. This is obviously a departure from the traditional recipe, but honestly every house in Bulgaria has its own twist to the Shopska, so here are just a few of mine. Without further adue, here goes (as far as I remember…):

1 pretty big bunch of Italian parsley (the organic Italian parsley in Whole Foods would usually suffice)
1 or 2 small heads of Frisee salad (I also use baby arugula, baby spinach or any other baby greens variety.. if you have a bigger container of it, just grab a handful and toss in there.)
1/4 cup of bulgur wheat (that you have soaked for at least 2-3 hours before hand)
1 large chopped tomato (I cut mine in half and then slice lengthwise once more. Then cut three times across and then chop it. it makes nice almost square pieces)
1 organic cucumber peeled (even though they are organic peel is where most toxins will get trapped. So just to be on the safe side always peel your cucumbers and apples, but make sure you wash them BEFORE that! Very important!)
1 bunch of fresh green onions – chopped
1/2 bunch of fresh dill ( I just love dill, there is no reason for it to be in here, but i love love love dill.. so it’s up to you )
1 habanero pepper – cut lengthwise in two, clean out seeds and inside veins, then wash with cold water to diminish the heat (if it’s not bothering you, then let it be like that) then cut in more lengthwise slices and then chop.
1 lemon – squeeze the bujeezus out of it, and pour the juice on top of the salad
3-5 table spoons of your best olive oil.
Himalayan salt to taste.
3-4 (or more if you are not planning to kiss anyone that night) cloves of garlic – I also like to chop these, and not squeeze or mash them.. But I’m just weird like that, It’s ok if you want to use shortcuts and other kitchen equipment.

Once all your ingredients are in, wash your hands really well, and rinse them very well (of any soap residue) and use them to incorporate every little morsel into the juices of the other and the lemon juice and olive oil. OR, you can buy these “helping hands” and use them instead. I prefer using them, for two reasons – better hygiene and also, when i use my hands, half of the tabbouleh gets stuck on them, and I find myself licking them like a cat.. not exactly what guests would like to see, if they are in your house when you make it.

It’s really great if you could chill it for a few minutes before serving, but it is so good, that I doubt anyone would have the patience..
Just dig in!

Let me know how it tastes.

Optional additions
1. toasted Sesame seeds
2. Chia seeds
3. Sprouts of any kind!
4. Sunflower sprouts – mix in like th frisee salad.
5. More peppers of any variety – roasted or fresh..
6. Eggplant – roasted and peeled and chopped.
7. Sweet onions – chopped

I usually add one of the above and change the greens to make it a different salad..

So just from this recipe you can make at least 10 other different salads.

If you are not on dairy-free regimen, then you can also add Feta Cheese crumbles and eat it with chunks of crusty bread for scoop, instead of a fork…

Makes a great addition to any grilled meat or fish, or as a side dish to a grain like quinoa or brown rice.