Kate Dimmock’s Favorite Summer Dish

Easy summer recipes with virtually no cooking are always ideal when it’s hot outside.  Kate Dimmock, Style Director of People Style Watch, discovered the recipe for Brigitte Bardot’s Tabbouleh Salad in the Food section of the NY Times Magazine about six years ago.  It’s actually couscous salad but Bardot called it tabbouleh.

The recipe and story was told by celebrity chef Frédéric van Coppernolle whose grandmother cared and cooked for Bardot at her home in St. Tropez.  At 15, Van Coppernolle was sent to live with his grandmother on Bardot’s estate in 1980, while his parents were battling a terrible divorce.  Bardot was a staunch animal rights advocate so she ate no meat.  Van Coppernolle became his grandmother’s sous chef and helped her prep various vegetarian dishes such as onion tarts, ratatouille, pizzas and vegetable-and-cheese quiches for Bardot as well as feed Bardot’s 13 dogs and 40 cats special home cooked meals.  His grandmother’s tabbouleh dish was a favorite of Bardot’s.  They never corrected her by explaining it was couscous because she was supposedly a bit feisty.  Instead, they kept the peace and just let her call it tabbouleh!  Couscous is made of pasta, while tabbouleh is cracked bulgur wheat.

Kate loves the fresh mint in this salad.  It’s an herb she loves but doesn’t always know how to prepare.  She definitely found a good way to use it here.  And since its ingredients are very similar to a traditional tabbouleh salad, I’m certain you could sub bulgur for the couscous if you’d prefer not to eat pasta.  I made the salad over the weekend and my only suggestion is don’t be afraid to add a little more Tabasco than you’re used to because it absorbs into the pasta rather quickly.  Delicious!!

Brigitte’s Tabbouleh Salad
What Brigitte Bardot enjoyed and called tabbouleh salad is closer to a couscous dish.

½ cup tomato juice
1 ½ cups instant couscous
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup fresh or canned cooked chickpeas
1 ½ cups diced tomatoes
1 cup peeled, seeded and diced cucumber
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
Zest of 1/2 lemon
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups tightly packed mint leaves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons salt
Black pepper to taste
Tabasco or cayenne pepper.

1.Bring 1 cup water and the tomato juice to a simmer in a small saucepan. Put the couscous in a large heatproof bowl and pour the hot liquid over it. Add the oil, stir and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside.

2.In another bowl, stir together the chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, garlic, shallots, lemon zest and juice, mint, salt and pepper. Use a fork to mix the vegetables with the couscous and finish with Tabasco or cayenne to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least three hours and preferably overnight to allow the flavors to blend. Serves 4 to 6.

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3 Responses to “Kate Dimmock’s Favorite Summer Dish”

  1. Dru August 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm #

    This looks great! I am making this for the weekend!!

  2. Sandy August 2, 2011 at 8:24 am #

    I’m going to try this. It sounds yummy!

  3. Frédéric February 7, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    Hello, this is Frédéric. Glad to see you liked this recipe! let me know if you want other ones. A bientôt’!

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