Crispy and cheesy, these two-ingredient fritters would sparkle next to anything. But a citrusy, herby salad — packed with green parsley and crunchy cucumber — hits the spot. Inspired by tabbouleh, this recipe only needs a handful of ingredients. The secret is to use them smartly. Toasting the grains first, then adding a splash of feta brine to the cooking water yields deeply flavored bulgur. And crumbling the cheese into two textures means that some melts as a binder, while other pieces stay intact (picture: surprise pockets of warm feta). When you’re shopping for bulgur, be mindful of the coarseness. This recipe uses a medium grind, also known as #2 bulgur. Don’t get coarse or fine, since they wouldn’t cook up in the same way. Most bulgurs you’ll find will be made with durum wheat. But there are some brands that use red wheat, like Bob’s Red Mill. Because this is a different type of wheat, it acts differently, go figure. So if that’s what you have or bought, make the following adjustments: Use 1 1/2 cups of water and 1/4 cup of feta brine (or 1 3/4 cups of water plus a pinch of salt), and cook for 15 minutes. — Emma Laperruque
Watch this recipe
Bulgur-Feta Fritters with Lemony Parsley Salad
- 1 cup (168 grams) medium-grind (also known as #2) bulgur
- 4 ounces (113 grams) feta, brine reserved
- Kosher or flaky salt
- 1 large bunch (about 6 ounces/170 grams) flat-leaf parsley
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for sautéing and dressing
- 2 Persian cucumbers
- 1 large lemon, preferably organic
- Add a drizzle of oil to a medium pot and set over medium heat. Add the bulgur and cook, stirring constantly, until it smells toasty, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 3/4 cups of water and 1/4 cup of feta brine (or if you don’t have any brine, 2 cups of water plus a pinch of salt). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer for 18 to 20 minutes, until the bulgur is very soft, almost mushy, and the water has absorbed.
- Meanwhile finely crumble about 2/3 of the feta and roughly crumble the rest.
- Use a fork to mash and stir the hot bulgur a few times, encouraging it to get sticky. Stir in the finely crumbled feta until mostly melted, then gently stir in the roughly crumbled feta.
- In heaping 1-tablespoon portions, scoop the bulgur mixture onto a parchment-lined sheet pan (yielding 18 to 22). Use your hand to flatten each scoop into a disc (1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter). Let these firm up in the fridge while you work on the parsley salad. (At this point, you could also wrap and refrigerate the fritters for up to 2 days before moving onto the next step.)
- Cut and discard the tough stems from the parsley. Wash the leaves and tender stems, then roughly chop. Halve the cucumbers lengthwise, then roughly chop. Transfer both to a medium bowl. Finely grate some lemon zest (about 1/3 the lemon for me) on top of the parsley and cucumber. Halve the lemon, then squeeze some juice (about 1/2 the lemon for me) on top. Generously drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Toss, taste, and adjust as needed.
- To a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet, add enough oil to coat the bottom and set over medium heat. When the oil is hot, carefully add enough fritters to comfortably fit with room for flipping. Cook until golden brown and crispy on the bottoms, 4 to 5 minutes, then flip and cook until golden brown and crispy on the other side, 3 to 4 minutes. (If they seem too delicate, let them firm up for longer before cooking.) Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate or a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining fritters, adding more oil if the pan starts to look dry.
- Serve the warm fritters on top of or alongside the salad.