Chickpea and pepper salad
Chickpea and pepper salad it a simple, hearty dish that might replace potatoes as an accompaniment to roast or grilled meat.
For some reason Salento farmers are really proud of their chickpeas. Expats who have returned home for the holidays order car loads of chickpeas to take back Torino, Germany and Switzerland, and the mugnaio gives you an approving nod, when you ask for ceci locali. Even when the mulino is packed with impatient customers, he has all the time in the world to explain, how the black chick peas are in fact the best, whereas brown chickpeas should be discarded. As with all Italian food matters, chickpeas can be closely related to rocket science, if you take your produce seriously.
This recipe underlines the exquisite taste of local chickpeas, and it can be served as a ‘piatto unico’, if you have not got time (who has?) to prepare a full Italian meal. All you have to do is to serve the chickpea and pepper salad with a piece of meat or toss it with some canned tuna.
300 g chickpeas
Fresh laurel, thyme and rosemary
1 clove of garlic
1 red onion
2 bell peppers
Fresh basil or parsley
1 tbsp mustard
6 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
Soften the chickpeas in water overnight. Change the water and boil for 1 hour with the herbs. (Unlike other kinds of dried beans and peas, chickpeas do not splatter, if they are overboiled.)
Prepare a dressing by gradually stirring olive oil into the mustard. When you have a thick, even sauce, add vinegar.
While still hot stir the drained chickpeas with dressing
Clean onion, garlic and peppers and chop them finely and mix with the chickpeas and dressing. (If you can get hold of peppers in different colours, this rustic salad can be turned into a veritable party dish).
Top with basil or parsley, and the chickpea and pepper salad is ready to serve.