3.28.2015

Climate Confusion

Lately, our weather has been topsy-turvy!

One day, I come home shivering and asking for a fire in the fireplace, and the very next day I find myself using the H word, even thought it is only 75°F / 20°C.

However, this weekend, it really is going up to 93°F / 30°C both days  much earlier than usual.

It's easy to make light food in genuinely hot weather, but we are mentally still in comfort-food mode. We still want full, rich, flavors, because our bewildered minds and bodies tell us it's still winter or at least early spring.

Enter my new favorite salad. It is so full of flavor that it makes me forget it is healthy. It also has that comfort feeling we crave.

It packs a punch, brimming with earthy Moroccan flavors. Cinnamon, preserved lemons, honey. And I serve it over spinach or escarole. If the salad is warmed, the greens wilt to perfection.

Every year, I make a batch or two of preserved lemons just for dishes like this. I highly recommend making some if you have lots of lemons. If you don't have them, some grated lemon zest will do the trick.

Everything else is readily available, and it comes together in a couple of minutes (but does need an hour or so of marinating for the flavors to meld).

It is also a wonderful meal for vegetarians, vegans, and those who are dairy- and gluten-free.

Shahia tayebah!  شهية طيبة

~ David

Moroccan Chickpea Salad

1 large red onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup golden raisins, softened in water
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 preserved lemon, rind only, diced
juice of 2 fresh lemons
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon light honey
4 cups baby spinach leaves, or torn escarole leaves
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1 cup Greek yoghurt
1/2 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
pomegranate molasses for drizzling

Sauté the diced onion in the olive oil until onion is softened and has lost its bite. Place the chickpeas in a large bowl, and add the onions, raisins, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, preserved lemon, lemon juice, olive oil, and honey in a large bowl. Toss to combine and leave to marinate for at least an hour. Do not be tempted to add salt.

Line a serving bowl with the baby spinach leaves and top with the chickpeas and sprinkle with parsley. Place a dollop of yoghurt in the center, sprinkle with pistachios, and drizzle with the pomegranate molasses.


Serves 6.

39 comments:

  1. Yum! I love this type of salad David. The weather is crazy here too, but the past few days it feels like winter again.

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    1. Thanks, Magda! It really helps to have a few like this for the really hot weather!

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  2. Sounds yummy, David. The canned chickpeas make it simple too!

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    1. Liz - while I know it is really easy to rehydrate and cook chickpeas, sometimes the cans are lifesavers - especially when you can get them with minimal sodium!

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  3. Awesome. Another recipe to use my preserved lemons! Thanks.

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    1. Thanks, Priscilla - let me know if you need any more recipes for the lemons - I have LOTS of ideas!

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  4. Oh, and BTW, it's snowing here....

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    1. Ugh - yes, I had heard that but was hoping the news was wrong.

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  5. You've just reminded me of another aversion that Dean has. Preserved lemons. I may just have to make this gorgeous salad when he's next away!

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    1. What could possibly be wrong with preserved lemons? Oh well, you could always make it without, and then sprinkle some on your serving!

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  6. Scrumptious ingredients "Brother D"! It's been in the 20s-40s here back east (as a high) so getting back to Tucson and making this as a spring dinner salad will be perfect. Imagining composed salads such as this one reminds be so much of "home"!

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    1. I do think you and Arch will both love this salad, Laura. It is so full of healthy and flavorful ingredients! And we are glad you are almost HOME! xoxox, BD

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  7. This salad looks crazy good! Love all of the colors. I could eat it every day all year long!

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    1. Thansk, Mimi! The flavors are as bright as the colors!

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  8. I can't wait to make this David. And I told you, we don't use the "H" word in Tucson until August! Kate

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    1. Okay, I didn't actually use the H word, Kate. But I began to think about it! You and the girls will lose this. I think Mich might even, too. xox

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  9. Wow! This salad sounds wonderful! I have never tried preserved lemons. Must do that.
    We live at 7,150 feet altitude in the Colorado Rockies. Our apricot tree is heavily budded and it looks like they could burst open any day. This is really almost two months early. High temps are in the 70's which is really strange for March. I try not to worry but it seems ominous. There could be big time fire danger this summer.

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    1. Wow - your weather seems even further ahead than ours, Caterina!

      You should definitely make some preserved lemons - they really add great flavor to so many dishes! If you don't have a recipe, there is one here on C&L!

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  10. David, this salad could not have come in a more perfect time. I have guests for dinner tomorrow night and one of them is a good Christian (unlike me) and is fasting. So I've been scrambling to make a vegan, but substantial menu. I am going to shop for everything and make your salad! Thanks! xo

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    1. Glad I was able to help, Colette ! Happy Easter!! xox

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  11. I'm anxious to jump over and see your preserved lemon recipe. I've made them and was disappointed they did not turn out as pretty as yours. Next time I'll try it your way. GREG

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    1. Thanks, Greg. I have always had good luck with my lemons.

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  12. This is such a gorgeous salad David, I know I cannot believe these hot warm days, too early.

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    1. I know, Cheri - but I see a cooling trend this week! (Yes!)

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  13. We have been eating a lot of legumes despite the warm weather of the past few days, don't seem to be able to shake off the winter feeling. I love chick peas in any form and every year I make a mental note to prepare some preserved lemons... have to check if you have a recipe up, and if you don't, here's an idea!

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    1. Fiona - I do have a recipe for preserved lemons: http://cocoaandlavender.blogspot.com/2013/01/saints-preserve-us.html

      We have really gotten to love chickpeas, too. They are a great, healthy source of protein and fiber - and great vehicle for all sorts of flavors!

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  14. David - This looks fabulous! I am going to try it out soon - love all the flavors. Great timing, too. My aunt just emailed me yesterday asking if I had ever preserved lemons - I have not but had a feeling you had and was going to check out your site. Low and behold this week's post has a link to preserved lemons. I will send her your way.

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    1. Hi Nicole - we usually try to make a couple of batches of the lemons each year. They are really great additions to Moroccan food, of course, but also to salads and many of my fish dishes.

      Hope you like the chickpeas! And thanks again for the nice post last week on the chocolate truffle cake!

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  15. this dish is delicious,looks so vibrant and has loads of beautiful flavors in every bite...last winter it snowed where we live...it snows every winter but last year it was way more than expected...and our mind got set to comfort food mode...now that it is summer we crave for cooling dishes but can't stop savoring comforting,heavy delicacies either...this recipe will make us enjoy it again and again for days...a certain keeper,thanks so much :-)

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    1. Hello, Rakesh and Swikruti! I thought you might like this dish. Thanks, as ever, for your wonderful comments!

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  16. Simply damn delicious!!!
    i think i'm gonna put some spanish chorizo on mine....

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    1. Dedy - chorizo sounds like a great addition!

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  17. Wow! I have never had anything like this before, but I did have a preserved lemon in my lunch bowl at a new restaurant in Pasadena last week! Delicious! Your photos are beautiful, David! You never cease to amaze me.

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    1. You are so sweet, Christina! I am a big fan of preserved lemons. I think you will find many uses for them!

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  18. Wow, sounds amazing David! All those spices are definitely intriguing in a cold salad. I must try it soon; the weather here is quite hot and humid for fall, so salads are still on he menu!

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    1. It's funny, Paula, so many people - friends and strangers - have made this recipe and reported back loving it. That makes me very happy, and I hope you like it, too! Stay cool!

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  19. Looks amazing! I so would love this! Our weather here in CA has been topsy-turvy here as well; makes it hard to plan ahead!

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    1. And here it is almost May and we are having another cold spell in Tucson! Good thing as I am making some Provençal comfort food for the blog next week!

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    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note - I really appreciate hearing from you and welcome any ideas you may have for future posts, too. Happy Cooking!

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