Broccoli Tabbouleh with Rumi

Article | Nov 2023

Chef JOSEPH ABBOUD’s food looks Middle Eastern because its proud origins are a little bit Lebanese, a little bit Persian, and a little bit Turkish. But it also represents the heart of an honest and enduring eatery in inner Melbourne’s Brunswick, named for the 13th-century poet, Rumi.

With the release of his new cookbook, Rumi, he shares a delicious and perfectly simple summer recipe for us to make.

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

 

Rumi by Joseph AbboudThis is food cooked with an egalitarian ethos and, yes, with soul. Forget veg-forward, this is hierarchy-free food; salads, fish, veg, meat and toum (with almost everything) all command their place in a meal at Joe’s table. Regulars will give thanks for classics like the three-cheese Sigaras, the Rumi Meatballs and the famous Lamb Shoulder; everyone else has the joy of discovery ahead.

To roll call a few, there’s a Fattoush for Every Season, a delightfully ‘inauthentic’ Broccoli Tabbouleh, Joe’s mother’s Eggplant M’Nazleh and The Quail That Anthony Bourdain Ate.

Joe is wary of sharing the 60-plus recipes in this book. Not for fear of divulging secrets so much as exposing how simple his cooking is. Certainly, his intention is not that this book represents the end for these favourites. Rather, the opposite is what he hopes for: ‘For their new custodians, it’s just the beginning. Whatever that looks like.’

 

You say tabouli, I say tabbouleh.

If there’s one recipe I suggest you take from this book and share with your family and friends, it’s this one. I took inspiration from my wife Nat’s raw broccoli salad, which is a regular feature of our family table. I came up with this recipe on one of the rare occasions I made dinner for the kids (while Nat was mayor of the local city council).

Looking for inspiration that would do her proud and not be outright rejected by the kids, I found some broccoli in the fridge and thought I’d have a go at her salad. This normally contains chopped raw broccoli, toasted almonds and pepitas (pumpkin seeds), and Persian feta. Instead, somehow, I made a connection between the texture of raw broccoli and the texture of burghul, which is an integral ingredient in tabbouleh.

Broccoli tabbouleh was born. And it’s gluten free! I think I’m pretty clever with this one.

 

Serves 8

1 large head of broccoli

2 ripe tomatoes, cut into 5 mm (1/4 in) dice

1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked then finely chopped

¼ bunch of mint, leaves picked then shredded

75 ml (1/3 cup) lemon juice

150 ml (5 fl oz) extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon Lebanese 7 spice

2 spring onions (scallions), finely sliced

½ teaspoon salt

Trim the broccoli of the fibrous end, then chop the tender stem and florets as finely as you can.

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Be sure that everything is well coated with the lemon juice and olive oil. I would suggest leaving it for 5 minutes after mixing then coming back to it with any adjustments to the seasoning. It should be juicy and salty!

 

ABOUT JOSEPH ABBOUD

 

Joseph Abboud chef Rumi authorJoseph Abboud has been cooking his take on modern Middle Eastern food at Rumi. His restaurant in Melbourne’s inner northern suburbs, since 2006. The vibe is chill, the rules are broken, the food is generous, and the locals are lucky.

Joe earnt his stripes in modern European kitchens but made the jump to the cuisine of his Lebanese heritage after identifying an opportunity to explore new ways to frame Middle Eastern food; combining both the flavours he knew innately through his childhood and expressions of his own experiences. He took a punt that Melbourne was ready for shared plates, real charcoal barbecues, tahini sauces, Arabic coffee, and the honest Abboud hospitality his beloved restaurant is now known for. Turns out he was right.

Follow Joseph Abboud on Instagram

Author: Joseph Abboud

Category: Lifestyle, Sport & leisure

Book Format: Book

Publisher: Murdoch Books

ISBN: 9781922616449

RRP: $39.99

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