First Yield

swiss chardEven with several consecutive days boasting a heat index of 100+, POD finds it hard to hate summer.

It helps that the first real container-grown harvests are coming in. A handful of bright green leaves (and orange- and red-stems) added an extra shot of color and a bit of something in one of the Endurer’s already perfect veggie meals.

Catalan Chickpeas with Tomatoes and Almonds

Serves: 4-6

Source: adapted from The Traveler’s Lunchbox and The Essential Mediterranean by Nancy Harmon Jenkins

2 (14oz/400g) cans chickpeas, drained
1/4 cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and grated or finely minced
1 can (28oz/800g) plum tomatoes in juice, preferably Italian, drained and chopped
pinch sugar
generous pinch saffron threads
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup (50g) lightly toasted almonds
small handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 bunch (6-8 oz) Swiss Chard, sliced into slender ribbons
2 cups (350ml) chicken or vegetable stock
salt

juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste 

In a heavy frying pan, heat the oil over medium/medium-high heat and sauté the onion until it is golden brown and very soft, about 25 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and sugar, letting them fry until they melt into the onions and form a paste, about another 10-15 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat.

In a large mortar, combine the saffron, garlic, almonds and parsley and pound to a thick paste (add a little water if necessary to keep things moving). Add the paste to the onion mixture along with the stock and the chickpeas, bring to a boil over medium-high heat and simmer until the liquid has reduced to a thick sauce, about 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and lemon juice to taste. Serve hot or at room temperature; you’ll find that this dish keeps developing in flavor the longer it sits.

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