Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Carrot and Chickpea Salad

I made this salad during a week in which I stormed my way through three recipes. Either that, or they stormed through me. Suffice it to say that I won't be trying three recipes in a week again. It's not that this recipe is hard; it's not at all. The problem that I'm finding with several of these recipes is that they're not always worth the time required to put them together. That is by no means an indictment of their quality, but as you'll see below three days for what essentially amounts to a side dish is probably more time than 95% of us have to give to Tuesday night dinner.

Enough with the ranting, let's do some cooking. Just kidding, first you have to soak the chickpeas for 12 hours. Night number one is now toast. Ok, done with the ranting...

The next night it was time to start applying some heat to some food. Here is the first set of ingredients:

That would be a leek, a carrot, an onion, some chickpeas, and the stuff required for a bouquet garni. For the uninitiated like me, bouqeuts garni (or is it bouquet garnies?) are all of those remaining ingredients wrapped up in something. Keller calls the herbs wrapped in leek greens a bouquet garni and a sachet if you wrap it in cheesecloth. I was hoping to find a super extra high res photo and description from Ruhlman's excellent blog, but it was not to be. You'll have to look it up if want more information. Carrying on...

Into a pot went the soaked chickpeas, a bunch of water, half the leek, the bouquet, carrot, and onion. All that stuff got brought to a boil and then simmered for quite awhile. I cooked them for about an hour, even though the recipe gives a 45 minute guideline. I kind of wish I'd cooked them a little longer, as the chickpeas still had quite a bit of bite in the finished dish. Oh well. I transferred them to a dish and let it cool and then removed all of the things that weren't chickpeas or water. Into the fridge it went, and day 2 was over.

Finishing the dish up was pretty easy. I needed a few more things:

Round the clock we have bay leaves, thyme, garlic, lemon (juice), olive oil, parsley, and carrots. Everything that wasn't bright orange went into a skillet. I haven't posted much in the way of photos of the actually cooking process, so here's my attempt at starting that:

That cooked for just a minute or so until everyone in the vicinity (me) could smell that I was in fact making something that we get to eat in the very near future. After that, in went the carrots:

I cooked them and tossed them around for another minute or so, then in went the chickpeas and some salt and pepper just until everything was warmed through. It was finally almost time to eat. I let everything cool down and took out the aromatics, and stirred in the lemon juice and parsley. Here's what made it to the table, and I have to say it's one of the prettier things so far.

The verdict? It was pretty good. The chickpeas probably could have been cooked a little longer, but I'm not really sure how tender they would have ever gotten. One thing we agreed on was that the carrots would have made an excellent dish on their own. And it certainly wouldn't have taken three days...


None said...

Where did you get that carrot? Also, knife skills are looking good.

mike said...

Thanks. The carrots might be a product of mediocre knife skills and inept photography, but no one besides me knows that.

The carrots, and most of the produce on this site, are from Whole Foods.