Spring-Ingredients Chickpea Salad

SpringchickpeaI went to the farmer’s market this morning. It’s not something I’ve been good about since we moved to Fresno; being so incapacitated for the past year has done a lot to prevent that. Having myself organized and being energetic enough to get to the market on Saturday morning wasn’t happening. But I’ve been a couple times lately. This morning I went around 9 a.m. There are only two organic growers (only one certified), and they have a lot of the same things; mostly greens and herbs. There are other growers with strawberries, root vegetables, and broccoli, but all conventional. I suppose they may have more as the season goes along, but it’s a limited selection compared to what we had available in Kalamazoo, which is not what I would have expected.

I bought some radishes, arugula, herbs, swiss chard, and kale. Later on in the day I made a run to Whole Foods and got the rest of my groceries. This is what I made for dinner tonight. This is pretty much a spring vegetable party. If you are a lover of feta cheese, on top of this salad would be a good spot to put some.

If you wanted to make a simple light spring meal in courses, you could start with a pureed lettuce-and-fresh-pea soup, serve this along with roasted asparagus, and finish with strawberries and sweetened whipped cream.

2 c. dry chickpeas, soaked for 8 hours or overnight

1 T. olive oil

Few grinds black pepper

½ T. olive oil

2 bulbs fennel, chopped into ½ in. squares

1 bunch radishes, chopped into similar-sized pieces

5 oz. arugula, washed and dried

1 clove garlic, minced

Juice of 2 lemons

¼ c. olive oil

¾ c. chickpea cooking liquid

Salt and pepper to taste

Place the chickpeas in a pressure cooker with water to cover plus a half-inch. Add olive oil and a few grinds black pepper. Close the cooker. Bring the cooker to pressure and cook the chickpeas for 20 minutes. Bring the pressure down by running the cooker under cool water. If you do not have a pressure cooker, place the same ingredients in a regular pot, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, about 1 hour. When the chickpeas are tender, drain them, reserving the liquid.

While the chickpeas are cooking, heat the oil in a large sauté pan. When it is hot but not smoking, place the fennel in the pan. Sauté, stirring, until the fennel has just lost its raw texture, about five minutes. Place in a large bowl and set aside. Add the radishes, arugula, and garlic to the bowl.

When the chickpeas are cooked, mix the ingredients for the dressing together. Place the drained chickpeas atop the vegetable ingredients in the bowl. Pour the dressing over the bowl’s contents, then toss all the ingredients together gently. Season with additional salt and pepper if necessary. Makes 6 entrée-sized servings.

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