This was going to be a Five Minute Photo Shoot, but it ended up being so good I had to share the recipe. I recently threw this dinner together from bits and bobs hanging around the fridge and pantry, in one of those moments of desperation when you’ve got a packed larder but how is it there’s not a single thing to eat, so you start pulling ingredients out to see if anything happens to go together, and miracle of miracles, a common thread emerges.
Sprung from the places where things sometimes go to die: bulgur wheat, a tin of sardines, a handful of pistachios, some fainting mint, pomegranate seeds, and the omnipresent half of a zested lemon. Sumac and cayenne rounded out the Middle Eastern vibe impeccably, and dinner was served.
Yes, I had pomegranate seeds sitting around in my fridge. Yes, they’re desperately out of season. *Gallic shrug*
Bulgur Wheat Salad with Sardines, Pomegranate, and Pistachios
Makes 2 servings
I know sumac isn’t a very common ingredient, but it made this dish. The earthy, lemony spice really tied all the flavors together; so if you can find it, it’s worth the search. If not, I understand.
1 cup water
1/2 cup bulgur wheat (medium to coarse)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or to taste)
1 tablespoon lemon juice (from 1 lemon half)
1/2 teaspoon sumac, plus extra for garnish
Large pinch cayenne pepper
1 can sardines, packed in olive oil
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
2 tablespoons toasted pistachios (chopped or left whole)
1 large sprig mint, leaves only, chopped
Salt and black pepper to taste
1. Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the bulgur and salt, and stir. Return to a boil. Cover partially, and reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, or until bulgur is tender. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, prepare remaining ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, sumac, and cayenne.
3. Lift the sardines from the oil, drain a bit on paper towels, and remove bones if necessary. Using fingers, flake into large pieces into the bowl, and add remaining ingredients.
4. Fluff bulgur with a fork, and stir lightly into the other ingredients. Taste, and correct seasoning with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil as needed. Serve warm, sprinkled with a generous pinch of sumac.