Fresh Chickpeas
23 Jul 2009

However, something made me take a closer look, and notice the little hand-written sign announcing that they were fresh garbanzo beans. Now, I've got a pretty good bet that I'm not the only one that didn't know that garbanzo beans grew in little pods with just enough for one or two beans.

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If you had asked me, I would have said that they probably look something like edamame or maybe fava beans when they grow. But no, the bushy plants just get covered in little fuzzy pods no bigger than a quarter. Well, of course, I couldn't pass those up.
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Once home, we got busy shelling them. It's kind of a lot of work, although considerably less than shelling fava beans and much more fun. It's the plant equivalent of bursting bubble wrap, complete with a satisfying Pop! every now and then. It's possible it is just me, but I found it completely addictive. Which I suppose is good, because with only one or two peas per pod, you do have to pop a lot to get even a tiny bowl. In fact, even after shelling the whole bunch that I bought, I really only had enough for a tiny bowl of hummus. But it was some mighty fine hummus!
Fresh Chickpea Hummus
This recipe is adapted from one I found on the San Francisco Chronicle website. That article suggested warning your guests that the green, creamy dip is not guacamole. I didn't think much of it until I finished making my version... and lo and behold, it looks exactly like guac! Except that this spread doesn't immediately go brown on the edges.

1 pound fresh chickpeas, shelled
Juice of 1 large lemon
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 bunch Italian parsley, stems discarded, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup tahini
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt, freshly ground pepper to taste
Piment de Esplette (optional)

Shell chickpeas and discard the skins. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and cook the chickpeas until they are just tender but not too soft, 3-5 minutes. Strain and run under cool water.

Place chickpeas in a blender or processor with the lemon juice, garlic, parsley, and tahini. Pulse until the beans are coarsely chopped. Start to drizzle in the olive oil slowly, while blending. If the mixture seems to dry, add a bit more olive oil and lemon juice. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Continue to process with on-off bursts until mixture is pureed, scraping down the sides as needed.

Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 1 day. I prefer it served at close to room temperature, so remove it from the fridge about an hour before you want to serve it. Make a swirl on the top with the back of a spoon, and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with a bit of piment de espelette or a seasoned salt* if you wish.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

*I have two great suggestions for you if you are looking for some yummy salts! First, I had the pleasure of shooting for Orcas Alchemy's website. Orcas Alchemy specializes in flavored sugars and salts, and everything I tried was delicious. In particular, I love the raspberry sugar. So beautiful! Secondly, Secret Stash Sea Salts have some of the most intriguing flavor combinations. I just picked up the Almond Cardamom at the Queen Anne Farmer's market last week. Yum!

(In case you were wondering, I am an Amazon affiliate, and purchases from links in this post to Amazon may earn me a nickel or two... so thanks!).

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