Puglian mashed chickpeas with rosemary and black olives

Puglian mashed chickpeas with rosemary and black olives

By
From
The Art Of The Larder
Photographer
Mike Lusmore

Use soaked dried split fava beans here if you prefer them to chickpeas. Rich and comforting, this is a staple dish of southern Italy. Use best-quality olive oil to scent the mash. The garlic boils with the chickpeas, turning sweet and creamy, and the olives and chilli give a salty heat to the greens and mashed pulses.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
200g dried chickpeas, soaked in plenty of cold water overnight or throughout the day
5 garlic cloves, unpeeled and left whole
2 cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 onion, finely diced
1 whole dried chilli, (not too hot!)
salt
freshly ground black pepper
75ml olive oil, plus extra to serve
250g chard, spinach or turnip tops, washed and drained, (Italian bitter greens are best of all)
A pinch chilli flakes, plus extra to serve
a good-sized sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves, finely chopped
50-80g pitted black olives, roughly chopped

Method

  1. Put the drained chickpeas into a large deep-sided pan with enough fresh cold water to cover them by at least 5cm. Add the whole garlic cloves, the onion and the whole chilli and bring to the boil over a high heat. Turn down the heat to a simmer, then cover the pan and cook for about 1–2 hours, or until the chickpeas are soft. If the pan gets too dry, top up with a little more cold water.
  2. Once cooked, drain the chickpeas, reserving the cooking water. Discard the whole chilli and pop the garlic flesh out of the skins, discarding the skin. The onion will have long disintegrated.
  3. Put the chickpeas and squeezed-out garlic into a blender or food processor, or use a stick blender, and add 1 teaspoon of salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Blend, adding about three-quarters of the olive oil, until you reach the desired consistency. I like mine a little bit lumpy, but you can process until smooth if you like.
  4. Cook the chard, spinach or other green vegetables in plenty of salted water for 2 minutes, or until just tender. Drain, then run under cold water and squeeze out any excess water.
  5. Fry the chopped garlic, chilli flakes and rosemary in the remaining olive oil for 1 minute. Add the blanched greens to the chilli, garlic, rosemary and oil and season well with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. To serve, put the chickpea purée on a large plate and top with the fried greens. Drizzle with the oil from the pan and scatter with the chopped olives. More chilli flakes might be nice too.
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