During this past semester, students of The Culinary Institute of Montana at FVCC prepared and presented “Casablanca – The Dinner.” While working with the students to create the menu, I found myself inspired by the culture, techniques and flavors used for making the different salads.
At the FVCC President’s Dinner last month, I had the chance to present a Casablanca-inspired version of tabouli for the first course, and I was absolutely thrilled with how it turned out. Traditionally, lamb would be the protein used in tabouli, but for something more refreshing and creative I decided to use a high-grade filet of tuna. The presentation, flavors and taste made the tabouli the highlight of the dinner experience.
• 3/4 cup course bulgur wheat
• 3/4 cup boiling water
• 1 1/2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and finely dice
• 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
• 1 shallot, finely minced
• 2 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
• 3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
• 3/4 tsp. ground cumin
• 2 tsp. kosher salt
• 1 tsp. crushed black pepper
• 5 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
• 1 1/2 lbs. fresh tuna, finely diced by hand
• 1 fresh lemon (for juicing)
• 2 beefsteak tomatoes, skins removed, cut into 8 thick slices (4 each)
Fresh mint, cucumber Greek yogurt sauce (combine all ingredients together)
• 1 cup plain Greek Yogurt
• 2 Tbsp. fresh chopped mint
• 1/2 cucumber skinned, seeded and minced
• 1 tsp. lime juice
Place the bulgur wheat in a large bowl and add the boiling water. Allow to sit for 25 minutes, then stir and allow to cool to room temperature. (The bulgur should be soft but not mushy, and should still have some firm consistency.)
Add the cucumber, ginger, shallot, mint, cilantro, cumin, salt, pepper, oil and tuna to the bulgur. Stir gently until well mixed.
Just before serving, add the lemon juice to the mixture.
To Plate: Place a slice of beefsteak tomato onto each plate. With a large ice cream scoop or cup, scoop the tabouli and place a rounded portion on top of each tomato. Finally, add a dollop of yogurt sauce over the tabouli and garnish with a stem leaf of cilantro.
I hope you enjoy this refreshing dish this spring. It’s simple to prepare, yet it will leave your guests satisfied and impressed. I look forward to hearing your comments. Please email me at email@example.com. Bon Appétit!
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