I discovered fresh garbanzo beans this past weekend and was completely charmed. They come in their own private pods (no cramming together like the English peas) and they have a lovely fresh and grassy taste. I created this salad for them with Middle Eastern flavors, but nothing too strong to overwhelm the freshness of the peas. This recipe calls for grilled zucchini; lighting up a grill for a single zucchini would be rather excessive (use a grill pan or broiler), but it makes a lot of sense if you’re including this salad in a menu of grilled food. We enjoyed this salad with grilled flatbread and kofta kebabs. —Fairmount_market
shelled fresh garbanzo beans
large handfuls baby spinach leaves
fresh lemon juice
olive oil, plus more for oiling the zucchini
Prepare the dressing. Toast the cumin seeds in a dry hot skillet. Crush slightly with a mortar and pestle. Combine with the lemon juice, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and grind of pepper and whisk until emulsified.
Rinse the spinach leaves and chop into ½ inch strips. Toss well with half of the dressing, and arrange on a platter.
Cut the stem and blossom ends off the zucchini and slice lengthwise into ¼ inch slices. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill over a medium hot grill about 3 minutes per side until soft and just slightly charred. Layer over the dressed spinach leaves.
Steam the shelled garbanzo beans for 2 minutes until they are a brilliant green. Layer them on top of the grilled zucchini. Sprinkle over the crumbled feta cheese, pour over the rest of the dressing, and top with the mint leaves slices.
I'm a biology professor and mother of two, and in my (limited) free time I love to cook, which is much more forgiving than laboratory science. Last year I helped start a farmers market in my neighborhood, and to promote it, I created a food blog: fairmountmarket.blogspot.com. I enjoy the challenge of coming up with recipes for local, seasonal ingredients and finding fun ways to cook with my children.