Spinach and Chickpeas
1/2 pound (230 grams) dried chickpeas, cooked until soft and tender* or two 15-ounce cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound (450 grams) spinach, washed
A hefty 1-inch slice from a country loaf or about 2 slices from sandwich loaf bread (2.5 ounces or 75 grams), crusts removed and cut inset small cubes
1/2 cup (4 ounces) tomato sauce
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon juice, to taste
Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add half the olive oil. When it is hot, add the spinach with a pinch of salt (in batches, if necessary) and stir well. Remove when the leaves are just tender, drain in a colander and set aside.
Heat 2 more tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Fry the bread for about 5 minutes or until golden brown all over, then the remaining tablespoon of oil and the garlic, cumin and pepper. Cook for 1 minute more or until the garlic is nutty brown.
Transfer to a food processor, blender or mortar and pestle along with the vinegar, and mash to a paste. Return the mixture to the pan and add the drained chickpeas and tomato sauce. Stir until the chickpeas have absorbed the flavors and are hot. Season with salt and pepper.
If the consistency is a little thick, add some water. Add the spinach and cook until it is hot. Check for seasoning and serve with paprika on top, or on fried bread toasts (as the Spanish do).
Rhubarb Refrigerator Pickles
- 2 1/2 pound rhubarb stalks
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 3/4 cup cider vinegar
- 2 1/2 tablespoon coarse sea salt
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 4 small dried chiles, such as chile de árbol
- 4 bay leaves
Have 4 pint (16-ounce) jars with lids ready. Split rhubarb stalks lengthwise and use a vegetable peeler to remove the stringy skin. Cut rhubarb into lengths that fit into the jars with just a little space at the top; fill jars evenly with rhubarb.
Combine sugar, vinegar, salt, coriander, peppercorns, chiles, bay leaves and 3 cups water in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 3 minutes. Remove from heat and ladle liquid into the jars, placing 1 chile and 1 bay leaf in each. Cool, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 day. Will keep refrigerated for a month or more.