Makes 8 appetizer servings •Makes 6 luncheon servings
With its mix of red, green, and white ingredients, this makes a colorful luncheon dish or appetizer. I love to make it in the summer when fresh herbs are plentiful. This recipe first appeared in my cookbook, Helen Nash's New Kosher Cuisine.
• 1 pound (450 g) dried chickpeas
• 2 kirby cucumbers
• 2 small red chiles
• 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
• 1 cup (40 g) loosely packed fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
• 1 cup (40 g) loosely packed cilantro leaves
• Mâche or arugula
• 1/2 pound (227 g) feta, cut into small cubes (see note)
Lemon-Olive Oil Dressing
• 5 to 6 tablespoons (75 to 90 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
• Grated zest of one lemon
• 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for dressing the garnish
• 1 tablespoon honey
• Kosher salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
Place the chickpeas in a bowl, cover with cold water, and soak overnight.
Drain the chickpeas and place them in a large saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and cook, partially covered, for 35 minutes, or until they are soft. Drain in a sieve and place in a large bowl.
Trim the ends of the cucumbers. Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Cut the cucumbers into 1/2-inch (13 mm) cubes. Combine them with the chickpeas.
Cut the chiles in half lengthwise, then core, seed, and finely chop (see note). Combine them with the chickpeas and cucumbers, and add the onion, mint, and cilantro.
TO MAKE THE DRESSING
Mix the lemon juice and zest, oil, and honey. Toss with the salad and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place the dressed salad on a bed of mâche sprinkled with extra virgin olive oil. Top with the feta and serve.
There are many varieties of feta, but I prefer the milder variety.
When seeding chili peppers, I advise wearing thin plastic gloves to avoid irritating your skin or your eyes.