Insalata di Arance [Orange Salad]

Sunday, February 8, 2009

8 Ideas for Chickpeas

This is the dish I was going to post today: Cod with Miso-Ginger dressing, served on a bed of smoked-paprika chickpeas. It was going to be impressive. It was going to wow my guests, a culinary couple I love to surprise. I “invented” the dish by combining two leftovers a couple of weeks ago – a chickpea tapas with a fish entree – and the Spanish-Japanese fusion result was too good not to include in this blog. But sadly, as you can see, I haven’t posted as planned. My husband got the flu, and then Cai got a virus. We cancelled the dinner plans. I had the thawed cod in the fridge, chickpeas that had been soaked overnight, a sick husband and baby, very little time and something had to give. So I took the simplest route – cooked the chickpeas, pureed them, and discovered that homemade Humous, still warm from the cooking, is better than any Humous I’ve ever had, and I live in the Middle East. Trust me on this one – buy the chickpeas dry, soak for 24 hours, and then cook for 1-2 hours until soft. Set aside some for baby – either whole or pureed with water depending on age and preference – and then below I offer a few ideas for the rest. When life gives you chickpeas, you know what to do.

1. To make Humous, puree cooked chickpeas, adding some extra virgin olive oil, salt, and then enough water [you can use the water leftover from cooking the chickpeas] to create a paste. Others might want to add Tehina [sesame paste], garlic, parsley and lemon juice, but personally, I thought the pared down Humous was divine. See the photo on this page.
2. For addictive Tapas, sprinkle chickpeas with vegetable oil, salt and smoked paprika, and then fry lightly or bake.
3. More Tapas – we had a version of this dish in Bar Pinotxo in Barcelona: Saute garlic, onion, parsley, raisins that have been pre-soaked in hot water, and pine nuts. Add the chickpeas, heat through and season with salt and pepper.
4. Like with the cannellini beans [January 15, 2009 on this blog], toss with olive oil, lemon juice and leaves from sprigs of fresh thyme. Even better when chickpeas are still warm.
5. Add to a Tabouli salad: Using cooked couscous or bulgur, add finely chopped tomato, cucumber, onion, mint or parsley leaves. Dress with olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice. For an added kick, crumble some feta cheese on this classic Mediterranean salad.
6. Make a quick curry by heating vegetable oil, adding a teaspoon of cumin seed, coriander seed, cardamom seed, dry fenugreek and fennel seed. Wait until seeds “pop”, add chopped onion, sauté for at least ten minutes, add a cup of chopped tomatoes, a stick of cinnamon and then the chickpeas. Heat together on low for 10-20 minutes. Serve with rice or any grain. [I will be posting again on Indian cooking in this blog].
7. Add to Mahlouba [Feb 1, 2009 post] or Chicken Bulgur salad [Dec 16, 2008 post]
8. Toss into any salad, soup or stew.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah, you inspired me to make hummus tonight, along with some fresh baked focaccia, it made dinner a delight.