The ideas pile up, and they get a little oppressive. Who can write under all that pressure?
But this post pretty much wrote itself. Drew itself, really. Fresh, green garbanzo beans impelled me to take their picture at every stage. When you see an old, familiar ingredient in such a bizarre and otherworldly new light, you can't be flip about it.
A friend was out of town last weekend, and generously had me pick up her farmshare and use as much of it as I wanted. Among a bounty of yellow zucchini, giant jalapeños, Swiss chard, strawberries, and more, I also got a massive bunch of fresh garbanzos. And by bunch, I mean an unruly jumble of oversized, nappy branches, sprinkling tiny leaves wherever they passed. And on each one was an abundance of adorable, fuzzy little pods.
It turns out that garbanzos are a slow food through and through. Some might see it as a burden, but for me, sitting at my kitchen table, first snipping probably a hundred little pods off the branches, then splitting (some of) them open one by one, sent me right back to childhood. My mom would always give me the task of pulling fava beans from their long fuzzy pods, or picking bitter seeds out of sticky dried lemons, and these manual tasks are as satisfying and soothing now as they were then.
|2 chickpeas in a pod|
It worked! Though all of the seasoning goes on the chickpea's inedible skin, bits of salt and smoky char invariably end up on your fingers, and from there find their way into your mouth. Totally satisfying.
Obviously this won't work on a real grill, as the little guys will fall through! But if you don't have a grill pan, I think any pan would work here.
Green garbanzo beans, still in the pod
Heat a grill pan over high heat. Drizzle garbanzos with olive oil, toss to coat all of them. Add to grill pan, and after a couple minutes, stir. Try to allow both sides of each pod a chance to brown. Once you've got some char, but before beans burn completely, remove from pan to a bowl. Toss with salt, then cover with a plate to allow them to soften further from their own steam for a few minutes before serving.