On a recent journey to the TriBeCa farmers market, whilst side-stepping strollers and two-feet-tall shoppers, I spotted the last days of asparagus season and the first signs of corn. My first thought? Combine the two into a tabbouleh of sorts.
When summer hits, one of my favorite dishes is tabbouleh, its bright and fresh aroma from the various chopped herbs interspersed with airy bites of bulgur. Here, I swap the bulgur for chickpeas that are cooked in a pan with shallots, a generous hit of cumin, freshly shucked corn kernels and bite-sized asparagus. Combined with the chopped herbs and topped with sumac-filled yogurt, it makes a light and fresh summer dish that hits the table in less than 30 minutes.
One of my favorite elements of tabbouleh is the unabashed emphasis on herbs; for this recipe, I decided to go with a generous dose of cilantro, parsley, mint, and dill. For some reason, dill doesn't get the love that I feel it deserves—most people seem to make a face at the mere mention of it—but I get pretty excited when I see chefs using it. But hey, to each one's own—leave out the dill or skip the cilantro should they lack appeal, and add in basil or double up on the parsley, instead.
Regardless of the mixture you settle on, don't let the volume intimidate you. I'll admit that there's always a point when I first start chopping herbs that I look at the pile and think, there is no way this is ever going to end up in little pieces at the rate I'm going. Fear not! You'll get through it all (especially if you follow these easy tips for chopping herbs) and, even better, the process will leave your kitchen smelling like summer.
The important thing to remember is to season the dish generously with lemon juice and good olive oil. Feeling like a meal is incomplete without a protein? Sear some chicken breasts or quickly sauté shrimp and serve with this vegetable medley.