Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Chickpea & Fennel Salad with Arugula

Adapted from Laurent Gras - My Provence

Prep time: 24 plus 1 hour cooking for chickpeas
                5-10 minutes plus 1 hour fridge time for salad
Plating time: 5 minutes
Serves 4

1/2 lb/250 g dried chickpeas
Sea salt
enough water to cover the chickpeas plus 2 inches
2 bulbs fennel
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
1-2 handfuls baby arugula (Chef Laurent Gras used 1 bunch watercress, 1 head frisée or curly endive)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped (the chef used 4 sprigs fresh dill)
1/2 lb/250g Saint-Maure, aged 3 to 4 weeks, or other flavorful goat cheese rolled in ash which I couldn't find so I used feta crumbled.

I had to share Chef Laurent's method to prepare the chickpeas - they were so good, I'm never going back to canned)
1. One day prior to serving the salad, cover the chickpeas with at least two inches ofcold water. Add 4 teaspoons (20 g) sea salt and let sit overnight at room temperature.

2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas before cooking. Place the drained, soaked chickpeas in a pot and cover with mineral or tap water. 

3. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer for 1 hour. Using a perforated spoon, skim the froth that forms at the surface of the water. Season the chickpeas with fine salt when they are soft. Let cool to room temperature in the cooking water. Drain.
1. Remove the outside layers of the fennel, which are usually not as tender as the center layers or “heart.” Reserve the outer pieces for another use. You should have about a little less than 1/2 lb/200g of fennel hearts.

2. Split the fennel lengthwise and wash under cold, running water. Pat dry. Slice the fennel very thinly with a sharp knife or mandolin. Place the slices in the serving dish and season with the olive oil, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Squeeze the lemon juice over and toss the fennel. Taste to adjust the seasoning. Add the cooked chickpeas and toss well. 

3. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the chickpeas to absorb the seasoning.  Overnight works too!

4. Prepare the salad greens and herbs - wash, spin dry and set aside.

5. I just crumbled the feta, or slice the Saint-Maure into thin slices.

6. Add greens to the chickpeas and fennel, and toss, being careful not to damage the leaves. Taste and adjust the seasoning. 

7. Transfer to a serving platter and evenly distribute the cheese throughout the salad.

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