last night my family got together for an early father’s day dinner, which was great timing for my blog’s debut. at our dinner i got the chance to try out a recipe i’ve been mulling over for the past week. last weekend my husband and i ate at a great restaurant in los angeles called Gjelina. in addition to amazing thin-crust pizzas, they had delicious vegetable dishes made with fresh california produce. one of the dishes we ordered featured braised green chickpeas, and it got me thinking about what a wonderful spring vegetable they are.
green chickpeas are sweet and crisp, similar to a pea, and have a beautiful vibrant color. the downside to green chickpeas is that they need to be removed from their pods, and then skinned, which can be a little time consuming. but the result is well worth the effort! in addition to their great flavor, they are a good source of protein and fiber.
so, throughout the week i have been thinking about what flavors would compliment the green chickpea, and how to create a refreshing, eye-catching green chickpea salad that would be perfect for a father’s day barbeque dinner. the result was an instant hit!
green chickpea salad with mint, lemon, and feta
2 lbs green chickpeas (in their pods)
1 large shallot, diced
5 oz feta, crumbled
zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp lemon juice
10 springs fresh mint, stemmed and cut into chiffonade
1 tsp olive oil, plus oil or butter for sautéing
freshly ground white pepper
- remove chickpeas from their pods and blanch in a pot of boiling water for 40 seconds. strain and shock immediately in an ice bath. once cool, strain and set aside. (optional: as green chickpeas near the end of their short season, the thin skin around the small peas becomes thicker. i decided to remove this skin, which adds a step after the blanching & ice bath, but does let the chickpeas’ lovely color shine. otherwise the skin is perfectly fine to leave on and eat.)
- sauté shallots in olive oil or butter, stirring occasionally until soft but not browned, about 10 minutes. set aside to cool.
- in a medium bowl, add chickpeas, shallots, feta, lemon zest, lemon juice, mint, olive oil, and freshly ground white pepper. toss until evenly mixed and serve.
chiffonade: thinly sliced garnish, usually herbs or greens. best achieved by stacking the leaves before slicing into ribbons.
blanch: to boil a fruit or vegetable for a short time to bring out color and flavor and to soften. also helps in peeling fruits such as tomatoes and peaches.
shock: to plunge just-boiled items into an ice bath in order to stop cooking and preserve texture and vibrant color.