This is your dinner-maker. Sam and Sam Clark use it to marry chickpeas and spinach, but it could just as easily be lentils and mushrooms, roast chicken and leeks, broccoli rabe and penne. You could have instead toasted up the bread with whatever flavors you're interested in tonight: fennel seeds or fresh thyme or coriander or mustard. Deb Perelman's version on Smitten Kitchen had tomato sauce, and now she won't make bread sauce without it. It's a slot machine dinner with smushed bread crumbs as the wildcard. Adapted slightly from Moro: The Cookbook (Ebury Press, 2003). —Genius Recipes
(7 ounces) chickpeas, soaked overnight with a pinch of baking soda, or two 400-gram cans of chickpeas, rinsed
(18 ounces) spinach, washed
(3 ounces) white bread (about two 1/2-inch slices), crusts removed, cut into small cubes
cloves garlic, thinly sliced
small bunch fresh oregano, roughly chopped
small dried red chile, crumbled
1 1/2 tablespoons
good-quality red wine vinegar
saffron (about 60 strands), infused in 4 tablespoons boiling water
If using canned chickpeas, proceed to step 2. Otherwise, drain the dried, soaked chickpeas in a colander, rinse under cold water, then place in a large saucepan. Fill with 8 cups cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook 1 to 2 hours, or until tender, skimming of scum as necessary. Remove from heat, drain water until level with the chickpeas, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add half the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the spinach with a large pinch of salt. Do this in batches if necessary. Stir well—remove when the leaves are just wilted, drain in a colander, and set aside.
Heat the remaining oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Toast the bread until golden all over, then add the garlic, cumin, oregano, and chile, and cook 1 minute more, until the garlic is nutty brown. Transfer to a mortar and pestle or a food processor along with the vinegar, and mash to a paste. Return the bread mixture to the pan along with the drained chickpeas and saffron-infused water. Stir until the chickpeas are hot and have absorbed the flavors of the bread mix and saffron water. Season with salt and pepper. If the consistency is a little thick, add a little water. Add in the spinach and cook until heated through. Serve sprinkled with paprika and with fried bread on the side.
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