Enduring Winter [Charred Corn and Carrot Green Tabbouleh]
Unlike most springs, my yearning for a shift in diet, heavy in fresh vegetables and lighter fares, seems to be lagging behind with the warmer weather that will seemingly never come.
We tap our toes impatiently, sigh deep and heavy sighs, and wait. And then wait. And then we wait a little more. Alas, it is still barely above zero in Ottawa some days. The afternoons tease with their warm rays blanketing our faces, uttering the promise of summer, but the cold wind clinging from the winter is persistent and enduring, vowing not to leave until the last drop of winter has been rung from our city.
It’s been a long, long winter. I can’t imagine it being 35 degrees in this city, as it typically is in the throws of summer. Our baby tomato seedlings are ready to be drenched in sun, to fill our balcony with that familiar scent of summer and growth. We’re ready for our socks to be rolled and put away and our toes to breath and wriggle freely for the first time in months. Our dinners to be served al fresco with icy cold Riesling, our evenings to be spent loitering long past sun down as our laughs echo and fade into the dense summer air. But still, there is cold.
This tabbouleh helps. Granted, it’s made with frozen corn which just doesn’t compare to it’s sweet, fresh counterpart….but it’s something. Something fresh and bright and healthy. Something to help shake the cravings for slow braises and heavy pastas. It’s delicious, and the corn that pops as you bite into it releases this lovely sweetness that balances all the tangy, lemony, fresh flavours that tabbouleh is known for. The carrot greens bringing in an earthiness and a slight bitterness that played well off everything else. If you’re enduring a long winter and need some sunshine, this is for you. I guess if it’s warm where you are you can have this too… but you better will us some sunshine while you do.
Charred Corn and Carrot Green Tabbouleh
serves 6-8 as a large side
3 cups curly parsley, minced
1 1/2 cups carrot greens, minced
1 1/2 cups corn, fresh or frozen
1/2 English cucumber, diced
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes (whatever is most ripe)
1 bunch scallions, sliced thin
1 cup mint leaves, minced
1 1/2 cups cooked bulgur (or quinoa if you’re gluten intolerant)
(adapted from a cozy kitchen)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoon sumac
1 lemon, juiced + zested
Put a large, heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over med-high heat. Pour in the corn and let it sit, until charred slightly (5 minutes), stir and let char some more. It should take about 10-15 minutes total. Once it’s got some nice colour, scoop onto a dish to cool.
Get a big bowl and add all the chopped vegetables and toss to combine. Add in the bulgur and cooled corn and toss again, making sure everything is well mixed.
Pour all the dressing ingredients except for salt and pepper into a bowl and whisk to combine (adding the lemon + zest). Add about 1/4 tsp salt and pepper and then taste and add more until you’re happy with the taste.
Pour half the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Taste and if it needs more dressing, add more. It should be nice and tangy with a bit of salad to balance. Serve with fresh or toasted pita, za’atar crackers or on it’s own.