Fall chickpea salad with charred chicories
Italians’ devotion to chicories is downright inspiring– whether grilled, sautéed, or eaten raw, the vegetables are paired with the right levels of salt, fat, and acid to tame the distinct bitterness and allow the complexity to shine through. This recipe was adapted from Asha Loupy’s Grilled Chicory Salad with Chile-Fennel Dressing, where she expertly applies a high-heat method to bring out the natural sweetness of chicories: “Something truly magical happens when you grill chicories.” Here, we opt for an indoor stovetop method to get that desirable char. Lemony marinated chickpeas, salty crumbled feta, and a silky spicy dressing round out the charred chicories. Best of all, it’s satisfying enough as a standalone dish.
- Serves: 3-4
- Time: 60 minutes (plus bean cooking)
- Cookware: Small skillet, mortar and pestle, large rimmed baking sheet, large grill pan or heavy-bottomed skillet, bean cooking vessel of your choice
What you’ll need
- 1 cup Chickpeas (makes ~3 cups cooked), flavored with 1 garlic clove, bay leaf, ½ tbsp olive oil, ¾ tsp salt
- 6 tbsp lemon juice, divided
- Zest from 2 lemons, divided
- Extra virgin olive oil, divided
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 tbsp + ¾ tsp fennel seeds, divided
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled + 1 garlic clove, minced, divided
- 1 fresno chile, finely diced (with seeds)
- 1 serrano chile, finely diced (with seeds)
- 2 medium delicata squash, sliced in half lengthwise, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch half moons
- 2-3 lbs mixed chicories, such as red and green Belgian endive and/or escarole
- Crumbled feta cheese
Prepare the beans: Cook beans according to our guide in the cooking vessel of your choice. Once cooked, remove bay leaves and strain beans. Toss with zest from 1 lemon, 2 tbsp lemon juice, a quick drizzle of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste (ideally while still warm).
Make the dressing: In a small skillet over medium heat, lightly toast 1 tbsp fennel seeds until golden and fragrant, ~1-2 minutes. Pour into a mortar. Turn off the burner, and using the same (already hot) skillet, add a generous glug of olive oil and 2 garlic cloves, agitating constantly for ~30 seconds. Garlic should be fragrant but not browned. Pour into mortar with the fennel seeds and add fresno and serrano chiles to mortar, along with ¾ tsp salt. Using a pestle, grind everything into a chunky paste. Put paste in a small bowl, add remaining 4 tbsp lemon juice, and leave it to macerate for at least 10 minutes (do not add olive oil yet). Remove a couple spoonfuls and add it to chickpeas. Then, whisk in ¼ cup olive oil.
Cook the squash: Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, toss squash with a generous glug of olive oil, remaining zest from 1 lemon, remaining ¾ tsp raw fennel seeds, and minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for ~30 minutes, filling halfway through cooking, until fork tender, but not mushy.
Char the chicories: Meanwhile, trim brown ends of the stem (don’t remove stem entirely or sections won’t hold together while charring). Halve or quarter heads, depending on size, and brush generously with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a large grill pan or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat and once hot, sear all sides until golden, a little charred, and cooked, but still hold their shape. Remove from heat and set aside.
Assemble and serve: Divide chicories onto 4 plates, layering with squash, chickpeas, and feta cheese. Give the dressing a final whisk and spoon over everything to taste.
Adapted slightly from Asha Loupy's Grilled Chicory Salad with Chile-Fennel Dressing. The full story is available here.