Right now, many of us are itching to plant and yearning to see spring greens pushing up through the ground. Escarole is a crisp, bitter winter green that you can enjoy while waiting for those more tender spring greens to arrive. It can be sautéed, or can be eaten fresh as we have it in this salad. Not quite ready to dig in the dirt? Sprouting your own chickpeas is an easy way to scratch that spring planting itch (just think of it as tabletop gardening). This recipe also uses one of our favorite “secret” ingredients: celery leaves. Open that bunch of celery to the seldom-used interior stalks and you’ll discover tender, flavorful leaves that have been hiding in plain sight. They are a delicious addition to salads and grain dishes.
- juice of one lime
- 1teaspoon sherry vinegar
- 1⁄2teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1tablespoon finely chopped shallot
- 2tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
- 1teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano or 1⁄2 teaspoon dry
- 1⁄2teaspoon celery seed
- 2tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1cup canned or Sprouted Chickpeas (recipe below)
- 1avocado, peeled seeded and cut in large dice
- 1⁄4cup celery leaves
- 6cups torn escarole (1 small head)
- In the bottom of a large salad bowl, whisk together lime juice, sherry vinegar, salt, and shallot. Let sit for 15 minutes. Whisk in the dijon mustard, oregano, celery seed, and olive oil. 2
- Toss chickpeas and avocado gently with the dressing. Add celery leaves and escarole, toss to coat. Divide among 6 plates.
This technique really brings out the “pea” flavor of the chickpeas. It also lets you grow things before it’s time to plant. Sprouting can be done with beans, grains, seeds, pulses, nuts, and pseudo-cereals (things like amaranth, buckwheat, and chia). You can also sprout seeds for brassicas like broccoli. Some believe this helps them be more easily digested. If you get really into spouting, you may want to purchase a strainer top for your jar. Sprouting takes a few days, depending on your chickpeas (fresher is better) and the temperature in your home (warmer is faster). Leave the sprouts out of the light--a closet or cabinet works well. If you let the sprouts grow, they will become a tangle of micro-greens.
- 1cup dried chickpeas
- rubber band
- Place the chickpeas in a large jar. Fill with cool water. Allow to soak in the dark for 24 hours, strain. Rinse chickpeas. Return chickpeas to the jar. Place cheesecloth over the mouth of the jar. Fasten with a rubber band. Rinse and strain chickpeas in the morning and evenings for a few days. When the chickpeas sprout tails, they’re ready! Rinse them once more and place them in the fridge. Sprouted chickpeas will keep for 3-5 days.