Monday, January 19, 2009

smashed chickpea salad

smashed chickpea salad sandwich

It has been over one week since I told you about the Light Wheat Bread (and just as long since we’ve been out of it, sob), a post I ended with a promise to tell you about my new favorite sandwich next. But instead I told you about Clementine Cakes and then Mushroom Bourguignon and Chouquettes and do you know what happened? Not a single person griped that they were owed a sandwich. Because really, who does that?

zesting the lemonjuicing the lemon

I take issue with the banality of most sandwich recipes. I will actually change the channel if I see a food program that walks viewers through making one of any kind. I mean, is this how low the bar has dropped for “cooking”? But it’s not the shows that are to blame, I think, or not fully: it’s the sandwiches. Most sandwiches are dull. Some sliced stuff and schmear between two uninspired slices of bread. Who can stay awake for that?

ready to mix and mash

Now, now, before you write me off as some sort of unsettling creature that doesn’t even like sandwiches, it’s not the case. In fact, I do say I got my sandwich mojo back a couple years ago, the first time I tried a sandwich from Tom Colicchio’s* ‘wichcraft chain. Grilled gruyere with caramelized onions, a slow-roasted pork with red cabbage and jalapenos, a now defunct but deeply missed salami with pickled cauliflower sandwich… is anyone else drooling?

smashing the chickpeas

But favorite has always been the simplest, or maybe the silliest to pay $7 a pop for: the lemony chopped chickpea sandwich, which is really a decontructed hummus and I have been long overdue to make it at home. I couldn’t believe how easy it was. I couldn’t believe how much better it was at home. I — the person who is so utterly bored by sandwiches, she would have stopped reading this post three paragraphs ago — have a favorite sandwich. I mean, salad. I mean… have fun with it.

smashed chickpea salad sandwich

* … Who is not only smoking hot, but a lifesaver, swoon.

One year ago: Fried Chicken
Two years ago: Grapefruit Yogurt Cake

Smashed Chickpea Salad
Inspired by ‘wichcraft

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons pitted, halved and very thinly sliced black olives
1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Zest and juice from half a lemon (if you’ve got one of those sad, juiceless lemons, use both sides for juice)
Couple good pinches of salt
A few grinds of black pepper
A few glugs of olive oil (the original is quite oily, like bread-soaking oily, I went a little lighter. Both ways are delicious)

Mix everything but the olive oil in a small to midsize bowl. Very lightly smash the chickpea mixture with the back of a fork or a potato masher. You’re not looking for a hummus-like puree but something closer to a coarse chop with a few smaller bits to hold it together. Add the glugs of olive oil, mix it lightly and enjoy.

This is also awesome as a sandwich on toasted bread, and it needs nothing else on it. But, if you want to doll it up, here are some ideas: A slice of roasted red pepper (as they do at ‘wichcraft), watercress (ditto), a slice of pickled garlicky red pepper (our way). We schmeared the bread with a tahini dressing, which was just tahini, lemon juice and a minced garlic clove thinned with water, but if you’ve got some harissa, I bet that would also be delicious.


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