Updated: Jun 13, 2020
By Ippolita Douglas Scotti:
Lockdown has not been the best friend to our diets. For the most part, we have walked less, eaten more, and gained weight. With that in mind, I am turning my focus to summer and something light and beautiful, inspired by the "mezze" cuisine I adore from the Middle East, particularly Lebanon. We no longer have a Lebanese restaurant in Florence, and no one is really going out to restaurants at the moment. Here in Florence, we have to eat far away from one another with horrible plexiglass screens in between—and of course with masks. It's not very easy, and a depressing way to eat indeed, so I've decided to cook a light, gorgeous appetizer from Lebanon to make me think of easier times.
Let's start with tabbouleh—a fantastic super-fresh salad with bulgur, fresh parsley, lemon, cucumber, onions, and tomato.
½ cup bulgur
1 cup diced cucumber
1 cup diced ripe tomato
½ cup chopped fresh parsley and mint
1 thinly sliced green onion
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and Pepper
Cook or soak the bulgur until tender, according to package directions. Drain off any excess water and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, combine the diced cucumber, onion, and the tomato in a medium bowl with salt. Stir and let the mixture rest for at least 10 minutes.
Drain the excess water and put the mix in a nice serving bowl.
Add the cooled bulgur to the vegetables and drizzle with oil. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Mince the fresh herbs and sprinkle over the bulgur; toss and serve!
For more classic "Mezze" dishes, try:
Contessa Ippolita Douglas Scotti di Vigileno is a true Italian—born in Florence, Italy, from a long line of eccentric Italian aristocrats, she has traveled the world in search of adventure, romance, and magical, mouth-watering recipes. "Ippo" loves Italian history, especially as it relates to food. Author of There's a Beatle in My Soup, Curcuma e Zenzero (Ginger & Tumeric), 101 Perche Sulla Storia di Firenze (101 questions on Florence History), and Superfoods, Ippo is currently finishing her latest work, The Lords of Florence (all published by Newton Compton Publishers).