Bulgur Salad w/ Confit of Cherry Tomatoes, Roasted Vegetables & Pistachio Pesto

This is a colourful salad thanks to the courgettes and peppers.

However, the two ingredients that make it stand out are the bulgur and the tomatoes. Hunt down the really coarse bulgur, almost like pieces of short grain rice in size.

The plump chewy grains add a texture to this salad which is different even from the medium grained version. The confit of cherry tomatoes comes from a renowned café in San Francisco called Gjelina.

The tomatoes are cooked gently in olive oil, infused with slices of garlic, fresh basil and thyme. Keep a jar of them in your fridge, covered in their precious oil and you will find many uses for them.

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To prepare the Bulgur Salad w/ Confit of Cherry Tomatoes, Roasted Vegetables & Pistachio Pesto

To roast the peppers

Preheat oven to 220˚C, 200˚C fan, 425˚F, Gas 7. Sit the red peppers on a tray and roast in the oven for about 25 minutes until the skin has charred slightly all over. Turn the peppers a couple of times during the process. Place on a chopping board and using the tip of a utility knife, remove the skin straight away. When the peppers are hot, the skin comes away easily. Remove the core and seeds from the centre and discard. Slice into thick strips. Plate, season with sea salt and drizzle with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Leave to marinate.

To griddle the spring onion & courgette

Blanch the spring onions in boiling water for 30 seconds and refresh in a bowl of cold water. Drain and dry with kitchen paper. Preheat the griddle pan until just beginning to smoke. Brush each side of the spring onion with olive oil, season and place on the griddle. Cook on either side until slightly charred. Paint the courgette slices on each side with olive oil and place on the griddle. Season with salt. Cook for a couple of minutes on either side until charred but still crunchy. Remove immediately to a cold tray.

To cook the bulgur

Place the bulgur in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Seal with clingfilm and leave to sit for about 12-15 minutes. Taste the bulgur. It should be tender but still with a nice bite. Leave for a little longer if necessary. Drain, rinse in cold water and drain again.

To make the pesto

Strip the mint and basil off the stalks. Grind the pistachios in the food processor until fairly fine. Add the remaining ingredients except the oil and whizz briefly. Finally incorporate the oil. Do not overprocess. Place the pesto in a jam jar and cover with a layer of oil. It will hold in the fridge for several weeks.

Stir 4 tablespoons of pesto and the lemon zest into the bulgur. Chop some extra basil and mint and mix in, along with the courgette, roasted red pepper and spring onions. Taste and adjust if necessary. Finally, fold in half of the cherry tomatoes carefully. Spoon into a serving dish adding more cherry tomatoes on the top.

Place any of the remaining tomatoes/oil in a jar and keep refrigerated. They will hold for 2 weeks.

Ingredients

Serves 8-10

Confit of cherry tomatoes
2 red peppers
Olive oil
Good quality balsamic vinegar
6 spring onions
2 small courgettes, sliced at an angle (1cm thick)
200g bulgur

Pesto

30g mint for the pesto, plus extra for the salad
30g basil for the pesto, plus an extra handful for the salad
30g pistachios
1 small clove garlic, crushed
80ml extra virgin olive oil or use the oil from the confit of tomatoes
1 tsp grated lemon zest, plus extra for the salad
Salt

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