Sunday, 1 September 2013

making chickpeas decadent

The humble chickpea. Probably the most used pulse though with stiff competition from the peanut and the haricot bean (mainly down to Heinz). They are generally seen as a rustic ingredient primarily used in basic middle eastern dishes and the odd curry. I am a huge fan and, at times, seem to be purchasing several kilos of the bloody things a week. Whilst being a superb rustic ingredient and generally associated with a "healthy" dish, their use in a more luxurious, rich tasting dish cannot be ignored. In the following recipe I found their firmness provided a solid foundation for more slimy roasted vegetables and their rough surface great for collecting a film of the sweet dressing.

- yellow courgette, medium (around 100g)
- red pepper, medium
- coconut oil, tsp
- red wine vinegar, tbsp
- cumin seeds, tsp
- cooked chickpeas, 300g (150g dried weight)
- garlic, 2 cloves
- preserved lemon, 30g
- 1/2 inch slice of lemon, skin cut off
- honey, tsp
- extra virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp
- chopped dates, handful
- chopped mint leaves, small handful

Preheat an oven to 180 degrees. Cut the courgette into half inch semi circles and the red pepper into smallish bite size chunks. Place in a roasting tin and toss in the coconut oil and vinegar. Sprinkle over the cumin seeds and bake for 30-35 minutes.
Whilst the vegetables are in the oven prepare the dressing. Finely chop the preserved lemon and set to one side. Smash the garlic into a rough paste in a pestle and mortar then add the half of the slice of lemon (as pictured) and grind some more. Pick out any obvious bits of pith. Add the preserved lemon, honey and oil and mix well. Set to one side.
When the vegetables have cooled, mix with the chickpeas and toss in the dressing. Mix well to coat all the chickpeas. Finally sprinkle in the dates and mint.
Enjoy as a side salad or as a meal served on a flatbread. If the salad is a little dry add more oil - the desired texture should be juicy.

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