Recently I ran across fresh chickpeas at Central Market and the farmers market. If you’ve never had them before, I encourage you to give them a try.
Each cute little pod holds one or two chickpeas.
Don’t let those fuzzy little pods fool you, though — these things are a pain in the neck to shell, although they’re worth the effort. The pods don’t pop open very easily, and they’re surprisingly tough. I suggest starting with a small quantity, perhaps 1/3 pound, which should yield enough for this salad (plus, they tend to be kinda pricey).
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzos in Spain and Latin American countries, are a member of the pea family. I was disappointed to learn that they are not called chickpeas because they look like fat little chicks. I can’t be the only one that thought this, can I? I mean, it’s not that big a stretch, is it?
In fact, the name chickpea comes from the French chiche, which comes from the Latin cicer arietinum, meaning “small ram,” which, according to one source reflects “the unique shape of this legume that somewhat resembles a ram’s head.” If you say so. Oh well, yet another step closer to being Cliff Clavin.
I tried roasting fresh chickpeas a few years ago when they first started appearing in stores, based on raves in the blogosphere. I didn’t think the final product was significantly better than if I had used canned chickpeas, and it was definitely not worth the extra time involved, in my opinion. But blanching them until they are tender is a different story. The chickpeas turn a bright green, and they taste very much like fava beans with a firmer texture. Plus, they’re so chirpin’ cute.
So after shelling my pound of fresh chick peas for what seemed like a very long time, I blanched them and used them in this pleasing salad. The combination of arugula, pea shoots, chickpeas, and parmesan is just different enough to be interesting. I used a slightly sweet vinaigrette, but I think it would also be nice with a creamy herbed dressing or even ranch dressing. All amounts given are approximate.
|ARUGULA AND FRESH CHICKPEA SALAD|| |
- For the salad:
- 6-8 cups baby arugula
- ⅓ pound fresh chickpeas
- 1 cup fresh pea shoots
- 1 ounce Parmesan cheese
- For the dressing:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil, and add chickpeas. Boil for 3 to 5 minutes, until tender. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop cooking. When cool enough to handle, shell chickpeas.
- Meanwhile, prepare vinaigrette by whisking together oil, vinegars, and honey in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Place arugula, pea shoots, and chickpeas in a large salad bowl. Just before serving, drizzle with vinaigrette, reserving any extra for another use. Using a vegetable peeler, shave long strips of Parmesan cheese on top of salad, and serve.
Blanched fresh chickpeas
Waiting to get dressed