It’s been a solid month since my last recipe and I don’t want to bitch about the weather, but I have seriously got the last gasp of winter blues. Aside from one or two days that carried a whisper of a hint of spring, the cold up here in the northeast has just been clinging on for dear life. Today though, in spite of the gloomy, cold drizzle falling on my fair city, this salad banished those blues.
I am so sick of making and eating stews and root vegetables, braised this and roasted that, beans to last until the end of days. At the same time, it’s not quite cold food weather either. I knew I wanted something warm for lunch, but also something fresh and bright. I’ve been riffing on this recipe all month, swapping out beans, really ramping up the garlic to fight my cold, and tossing it with pasta, or over toast, sometimes adding some roasted broccoli. That there recipe is work horse, by god. Versatile and satisfying, but this iteration takes the cake, in my humble opinion. Down below is a recipe for just one salad, but will easily double, triple, quadruple, etc. I invite you to play around with it as much as I have and see what you can do.
Warm Chickpea Salad with Burst Cherry Tomatoes
2 handfuls arugula
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup cooked wheat berries
6 cherry tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
3 sprigs fresh thyme, de-stemmed
a few very thin slices of shallot
goat cheese & poached egg to serve (I just tried the Arzak method for poaching eggs and holy shit, it’s so incredibly easy why haven’t I been doing this the whole time?)
pinch of smoked paprika
juice of half a lemon
Salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes to taste
In a saute pan over medium high heat, add about a tablespoon or so of olive oil, just enough to thinly coat the bottom, let it heat up a bit and when it starts to shimmer, add the cherry tomatoes, whole. While the tomatoes are bursting, finely mince your garlic. Give the pan a shake to move the tomatoes around. The skins will start to darken slightly, and split. Lower the heat to medium low and add the garlic and crushed red pepper, if using. When the garlic is starting to become fragrant, add the chickpeas, wheat berries, smoked paprika, & lemon juice. Cook for 3 minutes or so, just until warmed through. Add the thyme, season to taste, and remove from heat.
While the chickpeas are cooling slightly, poach your egg, & plate your greens. Top the arugula with the chickpea mixture, shallot, goat cheese, & poached egg. If you really wanna get fancy, finish the salad with a drizzle of olive oil & Maldon sea salt. Slightly spicy, warm, with a bright citrus finish. It really hit the spot today.