Chickpeas are good any time of the year, but wonderful teamed with fresh spinach. The trick is to flavour them really well – chilli, lemon juice, olive oil and lots of herbs. This is good enough to eat as a salad all on its own. Here, I have paired them with spinach, toast and sweet potato.
200g/7oz cooked chickpeas
The juice of 1 lemon
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 bunch of mint, leaves only, finely chopped
1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped, seeds removed
70ml/3fl oz extra-virgin olive oil
1 sweet potato
2 tbsp olive oil
A good pinch of salt
100g/31/2oz small-leaf spinach
1 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
Place the cooked chickpeas in a bowl and squeeze over the lemon juice. Add the garlic, mint, parsley and chilli. Season generously with sea salt and pour over the olive oil. Toss together really well with your fingers and set aside.
Now peel the sweet potato and chop into generous chunks. Place in cold, well-salted water, enough to just cover, and place over a medium heat. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Cook until tender then remove from the heat and drain. Season with salt and drizzle over the olive oil while still warm.
Wash the spinach well and wilt over a gentle heat. Once wilted, remove from the heat immediately and drain. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out excess water, dress with the olive oil and season with a little salt and black pepper. Now toss the chickpeas, spinach and sweet potato together. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Grill four bits of chunky, peasant-style bread until golden brown. Pile on the chickpea, spinach and sweet potato mixture then drizzle with a little basil oil (see recipe for grilled rabbit, related links). A grilled tomato also works well as an optional garnish.
Serve at room temperature.