Some dishes can skate by on looks alone.
C'mon, take a close look at this Chickpea Sauté, with its vibrant rainbow of Swiss chard and carrots, studded with chickpeas and topped with yogurt and olive oil. It's a stunner, and one of the most colorful dishes we've made in a long time.
But before we get to that, in some ways, this was the Ottolenghi dish we were least excited about for our dinner with Margie. We had a tart, beautiful beans and an excellent salad, but felt that we needed a fourth dish to round out the main course.
Like shoppers lured in by something shiny in the window, we saw this rainbow of colors in Plenty and that was all we needed. Even if it wasn't great, at least it would be pretty.
The good news, though, is that this dish isn't just about looks. It's full of flavor, too, thanks to few unexpected ingredients. The first is caraway seed, a spice that we have on hand but would never think to use in a salad like this (despite the fact that we've previously made and loved a Kohlrabi, Apple, Caraway Salad). The caraway is thrown into the sauté along with the carrots, bringing with it a wonderful fragrant note.
Garlic, mint and cilantro are layered on top of the sautéed vegetables, adding even more flavor.
We loved this dish with its bold flavors and bright colors. We could take or leave the yogurt. In a meal that already had a fairly substantial amount of yogurt, we ate a sparing amount with this chickpea sauté.
Yogurt addicts: we say pile it on.
Previous entries in this series:
3/4 lb (8 cups) Swiss chard
1/3 cup olive oil, plus extra to finish
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3/8-inch dice
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 1/2 cups freshly cooked chickpeas (canned are fine too)
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 Tablespoon chopped mint
1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
salt and black pepper
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Separate the chard stalks from the leaves. Blanch the stalks in plenty of boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Add the leaves and continue cooking for 2 minutes, then drain everything. Refresh under cold running water and squeeze dry, then chop roughly.
Heat up the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan. Add the carrots and caraway seeds and saute for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add the chard and chickpeas and continue cooking for 6 minutes. Now add the garlic, herbs, lemon juice and some salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and cool down a little. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
To serve, mix together the yogurt, olive oil and some salt and pepper. Pile the vegetables on serving dishes and spoon the yogurt on top. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and drizzle over more olive oil.