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natural mystic: fresh chickpeas with fresh tomato sauce

We can prepare this dish with common dried chickpeas but the fresh ones provoke an explosion of natural aromas in the mouth

ingredients for 4 servings (cost about 2 € pp)
  • 300 g fresh or 300 g already cooked chickpeas (not canned of course)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 big or 4 medium very ripe tomatoes
  • Fresh oregano
  • Salt
  • EV Olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoonful honey
  • Coarse Pepper

This dish may be considered by somebody as very simple, but it is not. It requires high quality ingredients and cooking precision otherwise it will become common and boring. In my opinion it is one of the best dishes that I have ever made, a punch of great natural taste.

Has anyone of you ever tried fresh chickpeas? Not the dried ones, but the beans as they are collected from the plants. They are extremely juicy, sweet and tasty. I found a small quantity at the organic market and I bought them all.

But, if you can´t find fresh ones, don´t worry, you can prepare this dish with very well boiled dried chickpeas.

I remind you that the dried chickpeas can be cooked without soaking, but the cooking time will be too long. Soaking the chickpeas for 8 to 12 hours in mineral water reduces drastically the cooking time. If the soaking water is salty or sparkling the time needed is even inferior but the result will not be the same.

So, decide how to soak the chickpeas, according to your available time and then boil them in salty boiling water till very tender, having in mind that the water must be always very hot during cooking. If you have to add more water to the pot, it must be boiling too. Baking soda is not recommended as it turns the chickpeas unpleasant.

If you are lucky and you can find fresh chickpeas (they usually are sold in August and September) you don´t have to worry for soaking. You just need to peel the chickpeas and select the pale ones (not the green nor the beige) to prepare this dish (you can let the rest of the chickpeas dry and cook them as usual). These chickpeas are eatable raw, but I suggest a fast boiling of 5-10 minutes.

Let´s pass to something different. I cannot understand the cooks, who use canned tomatoes for sauces during summer. Canned tomatoes are only a winter substitute of fresh ones and they cannot reach in any case the greatness of the fresh fruits.

The cutting and the cooking of the fresh tomatoes are also very important for simple dishes like this one. Each tomato has to be peeled and then cut by knife (or even better by hand) and never with the immersion or the common blender. Our aim is to create uneven pieces of fruit, something that will guide us to an exciting and very tasty sauce. The cooking must be fast, as we want the aromas of the fresh tomatoes to be present and easily distinct.

Let´s start. We crush the garlic cloves, without peeling them (schiacciati as the Italians say) and put them in a pan. We add olive oil and we then turn the heat on. I repeat, that we always have to start garlic with cold oil in order to avoid its burning. After a while we turn the heat off and we let the garlic get infused in the oil for about 30 mins. We then discard the garlic cloves.

We turn the heat on and we add the tomato pieces, using high heat. After 2 minutes we add (the already boiled fresh or dried) chickpeas and we sauté, till having a relatively juicy sauce. We add the salt, the fresh pepper and half of the fresh oregano leaves, we stir and we check the whole preparation. If we find it very acidic we correct it with just a little honey.

I prefer using honey instead of sugar cos honey enriches the sauce with micro-aromatic compounds and turns it to even tastier.

We put on the plates adding the rest of the oregano leaves and more olive oil.


Published in LEGUMES