This week's theme at I Heart Cooking Clubs as we continue to cook with Nigel Slater is "Serving up Salads". I chose Chickpeas with Harissa, Basil and Ham from The Kitchen Diaries, a main course salad that's redolent with Middle Eastern (and other) flavours. The diary entry for this recipe made me smile: Nigel's lament about finding open - and forgotten - cans of harissa that had turned in his fridge resonated with me, but it was tomato paste gone mouldy that plagued me. His discovery of harissa in jars changed his life....tomato paste in tubes changed mine ;)!
Not much cooking was involved in this recipe, especially if you used canned chickpeas (or cooked chickpeas from the freezer as I did), but the eggplants and tomatoes needed to be roasted. I used only half the oil for this step and at the high oven temperature, found that they were done in less time than the recipe indicated. Roasting them with red wine vinegar and then using all of the pan juices for the dressing with added harissa and oil ensured that they were sweet and tangy, with a bit of heat from the harissa. Again, I used only half the oil for the dressing but added extra red wine vinegar and harissa so the chickpeas would be as well seasoned as the vegetables.
The final step was to crisp the ham. I
can't seem to cook prosciutto until it's crisp, though I'm very good at making it tough
and chewy, so I left it as it was. Tossed with some fresh basil, I served this delicious main course salad on a bed of spinach. The recipe can be found here.
Visit IHCC to see this week's salads.