Bulgur Wheat Salad with Zucchini and Herb Vinaigrette

Yesterday’s BBQ was a washout. Literally. And so much rain has fallen in Fairfield County the past week that big old trees have been uprooted and fallen on the roads, electricity has been scattered.

But Sunday looked hopeful. The sun was out, bright and warm. My cousins were over for a visit. I invited my brother and sister-in-law for a cookout.

Yes! Grilled meat! Grilled corn!  Salads made with fresh produce from a farmer’s market: unwaxed cucumbers, beefy tomatoes that haven’t been gassed, slim, young zucchini squash, sweet leaf lettuce that would make Peter Rabbit go nuts with delight.

But the gray clouds moved in just as I thought about lighting the grill. Rain showers for the next two hours.

I used the broiler for the meat. It lacked that outdoor, smoky taste, but was still good, thanks to a delicious barbecue sauce.

The salads? Perfect. Didn’t matter if we were outdoors or in, whether the meat had been grilled or not or, in fact, whether there was any meat at all. Fresh, local vegetables and greens, tasty olive oil and vinegar combos — you can’t go wrong here.

We ate well, with homemade apple pie and plum cobbler as a bonus.

The sun came out just as we finished.

Oh well. Here’s a recipe for one of the salads:

Bulgur Wheat Salad with Zucchini and Herb Vinaigrette

1 cup fine grain bulgur wheat

1-1/2 cups boiling water

1 large ripe tomato, chopped into bite size pieces

1 small, slim zucchini, diced

1 medium cucumber, peeled, deseeded and diced

2 scallions, chopped, optional

3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese, optional

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, oregano, savory or marjoram leaves (or a mixture of herbs)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3-4 tablespoons lemon juice

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the bulgur in a bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Stir and let rest for about 15 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed. Add the tomato, zucchini, cucumber and optional scallions and cheese. Sprinkle with the herbs. Toss ingredients to distribute them evenly. Add the olive oil and 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Toss the salad, taste and add more lemon juice if desired, plus salt and pepper to taste. Best to let rest for 15 minutes before serving (at room temp). Makes 4-6 servings

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