I know, chickpea salad? What a letdown, right? Well, what can I say except that there is simply no way to chase cookies with bits of tangy toffee and bitterish walnuts in a cookie that is pure brownie awesomeness in the middle, replete with the shiny crackled lid…
I’m sorry. I just had to get one more. I can stop anytime. (Also, we’ll be out soon, anyway.)
But there must still be a place in our hearts and gullets for chickpea salads, lest I wish to be a story on evening network news about the crane that had to come and extract me from our walk-up when Alex could no longer roll me down the stairs. And this one–yet another great find from Deborah Madison–is no bad place to start: fresh roasted pepper strips, capers, a little mint and a little garlic, it was just another salad in a spread that has turned out to be one of my favorite thrown-together dinner parties in ages. Almost everything made in advance, I actually got to (get this) sit down and hang out with my friends! Revolutionary, I tell you.
Chickpeas, previously: Bulgur Salad with Chickpeas, Roasted Red Peppers and Spiced Cumin Dressing, Couscous and Feta-Stuffed Peppers, Paula Wolfert’s Hummus and Spaghetti (Fideos) with Chorizo and Almonds
One year ago: Brussels Sprouts and Chestnuts in Brown Butter
Two years ago: Tomato and Sausage Risotto
Chickpea Salad with Capers and Roasted Red Peppers
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
Now, I know not everyone has time to soak their own chickpeas, and I know that there are canned ones that aren’t bad at all. But. I think that in chickpeas almost more than anything that comes dried, the flavor pops when they’ve been cooked fresh in a way that it doesn’t when they’ve been in their canning liquid for ages. Buy a one pound bag, and you’ll have plenty left over to make a nice batch of hummus
2 large red peppers, roasted and skinned (great directions over here, if you’re new to this)
3 cups of cooked chickpeas, rinsed if canned (about 2 15-ounce cans)
1/4 cup of parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons of chopped mint
3 tablespoons of capers, rinsed
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice or red wine or sherry vinegar
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Cut the peppers into half-inch wide strips and put them in a large bowl together with the chickpeas, herbs and the capers. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, salt, garlic and oil. Pour over the chickpea mixture and combine.Serve immediately, or refrigerate it for a day to get the flavors to mingle fantastically.
This is a great make-ahead dish for weekday lunches. It would also be wonderful on a pile of torn lettuce, served with toasted pita wedges.