At Cookbook, the delightful store in Echo Park where I bought my first bag of Rancho Gordo beans, I came upon a bag of black chickpeas. “What’s up with these black chickpeas?” I asked the nice people there.
“They’re just like regular chickpeas,” said Robert, one of those nice people. “Except…well…they’re black.” With a sales pitch like that, how could I not buy a bag? So I bought one and brought it home.
On Saturday, before whipping up 60 Second Aioli, I dropped the whole bag into a pot of cold water with half an onion, a chile de arbol and a garlic clove (just because I had those things around).
Up went the heat, the water came to a boil, I lowered to the lowest simmer, covered and let the chickpeas cook for almost 2 hours. Here they are on Instagram mid-cooking:
At the end, when the chickpeas were tender (you have to taste them to know) I added what was probably a big fistful of salt to the pot, took the chickpeas off the heat and allowed the salt to work their way inside. Then I drained the chickpeas in the sink:
They look kind of cool, right?
As far as taste, they were a bit nuttier than typical chickpeas but not notably so. They were basically really good chickpeas.
I mixed some of them up with the aioli, a chopped red onion, chopped parsley, and lemon juice:
And served it up on toast with a lemon wedge:
A scrumptious snack!
But the fun didn’t end there. Then I put the remaining chickpeas in a food processor with some tahini, two cloves of garlic, lemon juice, a glug of olive oil and a pinch of salt:
I whirred that up and behold: black chickpea hummus.
I’ve long heard that making hummus with freshly cooked chickpeas is way better than making it with canned; and this hummus, though highly unusual, proved that point. It had a consistency and flavor far more pleasurable than typical canned chickpea (or store-bought) hummus. I served it up on toast (my new obsession: see my next post) drizzled with good olive oil with some smoked salmon on top:
Another delightful afternoon snack from a mysterious bag of black chickpeas. So the next time you’re working at a store that sells black chickpeas and someone asks you, “What’s up with these black chickpeas?”; pause for a moment, give them a meaningful look and say: “A lot, my friend. A whole lot.”