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Though summer meals are often light and cool, warm comfort food should still have a place on your table. The key is to pick a dish that’s not too heavy -- no beef bourguignon out on the porch, for example. Instead, go for something a little lighter -- like this warm pan of chickpeas, chorizo, and chèvre, paired with a light celery and fennel salad. The chickpeas are hearty but not overbearing, and the light salad balances its warmth.
This is a perfect dinner if you’re looking to soak up as much outdoor time as possible this evening. Just slice, sauté, dress, and enjoy.
Click through on the recipe photos or titles to see (and save and print) the full recipes, but we've also written you a handy grocery list and game plan below.
A Warm Pan of Chickpeas, Chorizo, and Chèvre by cristinasciarra
Serves 4, with leftover chickpeas and chorizo
2 cups baby spinach
1 small white onion, thinly sliced into half moons
3 oil-packed roasted red peppers, chopped
2 chorizo links, chopped
One 14-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1/4 cup chèvre, crumbled
1 bulb fennel
4 stalks celery (at least one per person), with some of the leaves still on
6 large radishes
1 head butter lettuce
1/3 cup whole toasted hazelnuts
1 shallot, chopped
1 teaspoon celery seed
We're assuming you have olive oil, salt, red wine vinegar, smoked paprika, cayenne, garlic, peppercorns, sherry vinegar, and Dijon or whole-grain mustard. If not, be sure to add those to your list, too.
1. Prep the salad: Heat a small skillet until it's very hot, then add the celery seed and peppercorns. After a few minutes, remove them from the heat and toss them a little; they should be toasty and fragrant. Crush them in a mortar and pestle with coarse salt until everything is grainy and well combined. Add the hazelnuts and crush them lightly, just until they break into halves. Combine the chopped shallot, sherry vinegar, olive oil, and mustard in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Add salt to taste.
2. Cook the spinach: Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a wide saucepan. Add the spinach and toss to coat; cook it until it begins to wilt, about 4 minutes. Add the red wine vinegar and a pinch of kosher salt, then remove the spinach into a bowl.
3. Sauté the chickpeas and chorizo: Add the onion, roasted red pepper, and garlic to the pan. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the chorizo. (If the chorizo is not cured, make sure to cook it through, about 5 to 7 minutes.) Add the paprika, cayenne, and chickpeas, then stir everything together. Taste and correct the salt, as needed. Stir in the reserved spinach, then the chives and the parsley, and finally top with the chèvre. Leave the pan on very low heat while you work on the salad.
4. Finish the salad: Core the fennel bulb and trim the celery stalks and radishes, then slice the fennel, celery, and radishes as thinly as you like. Gently tear the lettuce into bite-sized pieces and add them to a shallow bowl with the fennel, celery, and radishes.
5. Add it together: Toss the vegetables with the shallot-sherry vinaigrette, then season your salad with the celery seed-peppercorn salt and hazelnuts; you won't need all of it. Taste for seasoning. Serve with the warm pan of chickpeas, chorizo, and chèvre. Enjoy!