Fresh Garbanzo Salad

We may have opposite political leanings and a preference for totally different movies (I just can’t do sci fi), but I know I married the right guy. Not only will he wake up at 5 AM to go running with me, but he gets just as excited about ethnic grocery stores as I do. This weekend, he brought home nopales (which I’ve never cooked with before), epazote, tomatillos, mangoes and fresh garbanzos from a Mexican grocery store. He couldn’t stop raving about all the great stuff they had.

I had no idea what to do with fresh garbanzos, which come in a hairy, papery husk and look just like dried garbanzos, but green. Apparently, they can be steamed and eaten like edamame, or shelled and used in the same way that dried garbanzos are. They end up tasting like a bright, fresh version of the dried kind, almost like a cross between a cooked garbanzo and a fresh pea. I was inspired by a recipe in Food & Wine but changed a few things to make it fresher. I’m sure it would be good with canned garbanzos, but using fresh ones give it a completely alluring fresh, clean flavor (and they’re so pretty!)

I steamed the shelled beans before I sauteed them, but I’m not sure if it’s necessary, so next time I want to experiment with just sauteeing them raw. I know lots of people eat fresh garbanzos raw, so steaming definitely isn’t essential, but I wanted to make sure they were tender.

Recipe:
2 cups shelled fresh garbanzo beans
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
salt
1 small mango, diced
1 serrano chile, minced (omit if you don’t like spicy food)
1/3 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

If you want to steam the garbanzos, put them in a steamer basket over simmering water for about 3 minutes, or until slightly tender. Remove from the pot and set aside to drain and cool.

Heat the oil in a wide skillet over medium high heat. Add the cumin, fennel, and mustard seeds and saute for about 2 minutes, or until very fragrant and beginning to turn dark.

Add the garbanzos and cook, stirring, for about four minutes. Transfer to a heat-proof bowl, stir in a pinch of salt, and let cool to room temperature.

Add the mango, chile, onion, and mint and toss well.
Serve with wedges of fresh lime, to squeeze over the salad before eating. The salad can be chillled or eaten at room temperature.

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