Serve up some sides
by Brian Ricci
It’s fun to blend hot and cold with summer food—the ephemeral nature of this dish asks that you keep hot and cold items apart until just before serving. Timing and patience are required. This dish translates well into a warm pasta dish—orecchiette would be my recommendation.
Serves 4 to 6
- 32 ounces cooked chickpeas, drained
- 3 tablespoons cumin seed
- 1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
- 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 lemons, zested and juiced
- Mint, basil and parsley, 5 sprigs each
- 1/2 cup pine nuts, gently toasted
- On hand: extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Drain chickpeas well through a colander.
- Roughly crush the cumin seed with a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle, then set aside.
- Now for the gremolata: Thinly slice your onion and mince the garlic and place into a mixing bowl.
- Add lemon zest and about 1/2 cup of olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.
- Roughly chop all the herbs and toss into the oil. Mint and basil tend to discolor quickly after they’ve been cut, so I prefer to wait until the last moments if I want to keep their colors bright when serving this salad.
- Add about 2/3 cup of olive oil to a large sauté pan and place on medium-high heat. (Alternatively, you can roast on high heat in the oven.)
- When the oil begins to simmer, add chickpeas and let them gently sizzle.
- After a minute, begin to roll the chickpeas around the pan to ensure they cook evenly. This process will take about 5 to 7 minutes—you are looking for a robust, golden caramel color.
- Take the chickpeas off the heat and add the cumin and smoked paprika—you can also add the pine nuts at this time. Mix this together in the pan. The residual heat from the pan will bloom the cumin—you should smell the aroma wafting up off the pan.
- Transfer the warm chickpea mixture to your serving bowl. Gently spoon over the gremolata, then taste again for seasoning and adjust. The reserved lemon juice can be added gradually to increase the brightness. The salad is a mixture of cold and hot and is best eaten immediately.