A couple of weeks ago, we took a short vacation and rented a houseboat on Lake Shasta. 4 days with no schedules, no computer and no internet – a “time out” from the crazy schedule that has dominated our summer and a chance to spend some uninterrupted time together as a family before my oldest heads off to college in Texas next month.
Planning the meals for this trip got me thinking about what I used to make when we went camping – and that’s where these marinated sun dried tomatoes come in. They just might be one of the most perfect foods for camping – and even if you don’t “camp” they are definitely worth making because they not only taste amazing but are incredibly versatile. A sauce for pasta, an appetizer with feta cheese and crackers and a perfect dressing for salads. I can’t think of many foods that are that versatile – can you?
Now, you can obviously buy these already marinated – but these are so much better. Really.
I’d been thinking about using them in a grain based salad -a very loose riff on tabbouleh. Great on the first day and even better on the second. This salad too would be perfect for camping, a picnic or even hiking – have it as a side with some grilled meat or chicken and then pack the leftovers for lunch the next day.
But even if your idea of camping is just eating outside on a patio or deck, these tomatoes and this salad deserve a place in your refrigerator and on your table. Trust me on this.
Bulgur Salad with Marinated Tomatoes – This recipe calls for using the sliced garlic cloves in the finished dish – they are pungent so if you are not a garlic fiend like I am, feel free to not include them in the salad. As for the preserved lemons they really do make a huge difference in this dish. They couldn’t be easier to make – see the link for how to make them!! Finally, I made this with bulgur but it would also be very good with quinoa or couscous. Garbanzo beans would also be a delicious addition and when combined with the grains provides a complete source of protein.
(serves 4 – 6 people)
- 1- 3 oz. package sun dried tomatoes
- 1 cup cup white wine vinegar
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced thin
- 2 tsp. herbs de provence
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp. capers
- 2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
- In a medium sized glass bowl (preferably wit a lid) l, combine the tomatoes and ½ cup of the white wine vinegar. Let sit for 30 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and stir. Refrigerate overnight.
Bulgur Salad with Marinated Tomatoes
- 1 cup bulgur (I used #12 grade)
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 recipe marinated tomatoes
- 2 – 3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. minced preserved lemon(or you can use lemon zest but flavor won’t be as pronounced)
- 1 cup minced fresh Italian parsley
- ⅓ cup sliced green onions
- 1 cup chopped, canned artichoke hearts
- ½ cup shelled pistachios
- In a large bowl, combine bulgur and hot water. Cover and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Remove sun dried tomatoes from marinade and slice into ¼ inch pieces.
- When bulgur has absorbed all the hot water stir in the marinated tomatoes, preserved lemons, parsley, green onions and artichoke hearts.
- Measure out ½ cup of the marinade (making sure to get the capers and the sliced garlic!) and pour over the bulgur mixture. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more vinegar/marinade to taste.
- Top with pistachios and serve.