Thursday, December 06, 2007

Chickpea & Roasted Vegetable Salad

This is a really good dish for lunch boxes as well as working well for the cooler weather. The chick peas make it substantial and add a creamy undertone to the whole thing. The ones I used for this were seriously posh ones from Brindisa - big fat pale yellow balls of joy. They are a much better choice than pasta for this because they are more robust and don't tend to collapse the way pasta does. Slow roasting the vegetables gives them a concentrated sweetness that is lovely to taste.

Chickpea & Roasted Vegetable Salad

2 medium onions, peeled, halved and the halves cut in to quarters
6-8 garlic cloves, flattened with the flat of a knife but unpeeled
1 aubergine, cubed into 2cm pieces
2 courgettes, halved lengthways then cubed to the same size as the aubergine
3 peppers, chopped roughly the size of the courgettes
2 large tomatoes, cubed again into 2cm pieces
2-3 bay leaves
3-4 sprigs of rosemary
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
660g Jar of El Navarrico chick peas if you can get them - or 2 tins of the usual

Drizzle a little olive oil over the base of a low sided roasting pan, scatter over the herbs and garlic cloves then add all the vegetables, piled up if you need to - they will collapse as the moisture from them evaporates. Season and then drizzle the lot generously with olive oil - the oil becomes the dressing for the salad, full of the sweet roasting flavours, so don't stint. Put the tray into a medium/gas5 oven and roast for about 90 minutes, turning every 30 minutes or so. They are cooked when the edges of the veg are starting to caramelise and the volume has reduced by about half.

Drain and wash the chick peas and put them into a large bowl. Tip the hot vegetables over the top scraping in the oil from the pan. Try and rescue the herbs and the garlic and bin it if you can. Mix it all together then check the seasoning. Add salt, pepper and perhaps a dash of balsamic vinegar till the combination is perfect.

This made enough salad for both of us for lunches for four days - with some cold chicken and stuffing for the first few days and on its own on Thursday and it remained good to eat. Lots of flavours and textures and a good salve for lunchtime hunger.

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