Five Minute Photo Shoot: Cabbage, Pasta, Hummus

cabbage, pasta, herbs, breadcrumbs

Cabbage is a highly underrated vegetable.  It’s not glamorous or trendy.  And isn’t that strange to think about?  Vegetables being trendy?  But look at kale and Little Gem lettuce.  It happens.

cabbage, pasta, herbs, breadcrumbs

This is a decidedly glamorous presentation of cabbage: shaved thin, sautéed in bacon fat and olive oil with plenty of black pepper, tossed with al dente pasta and chopped fresh herbs (probably just parsley, but who can remember these things).  Tarted up on top with some paprika-toasted panko.

cabbage, pasta, herbs, breadcrumbs

And hey hey, I made hummus too.  This always happens: I make a thing for a client, and then I have to have it at home.  Hummus is best served spread thinly on a plate and topped with sumac and olive oil.  Cucumber slices are optional; you can just eat it with your fingers in a pinch.


Bulgur Wheat Salad with Sardines, Pomegranate, and Pistachios

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.