Crispy Chickpea and Dill Barley Salad
Last weekend I went to a barbecue and -- aside from the 40 lbs of ribs gracing the grill -- one of the dishes that stole the show was a chickpea and green bean salad created by my esteemed colleague Alison Roman. A simple ode to the season, kissed with just the right amount of fresh dill, it's one of those dishes that arrests your palate with its flavor. Here I riffed on the concept, adding grilled fennel and snap peas to my salad, tossing in some barley to bulk it up, and rendering my chickpeas crispy for textural interest. I anticipate I'll be playing with this theme quite often this summer...
Chickpea and Dill Barley Salad with Grilled Fennel & Snap Peas
3 cups mixed greens and herbs
1 1/2 cups cooked barley
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2-3 cups snap peas
1 fennel bulb
1/4 cup (or more) freshly chopped dill
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper
Heat grill to medium-high (alternatively turn on broiler if using oven). Wash fennel bulb and remove fronds and top stems. Slice along the vertical into about 1/4-inch slices, keeping the base in tact. Season both sides with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Wash snap peas, pat dry, and drizzle with olive oil. Grill (or broil) fennel and snap peas (separately) until charred slightly. (Fennel will need several minutes on each side, snap peas can be tossed periodically to ensure an even char). Set aside, and when the fennel is cool enough to handle, chop it roughly.
Spread rinsed chickpeas onto a sheet pan and put under the broiler for about 8-10 minutes, until brown and crispy. (Give the pan a shake halfway through cooking).
For the lemon-ginger vinaigrette, juice 1/2 lemon and add a drizzle of honey and 1/2 tsp ground ginger. Whisk with olive oil until preferred taste/consistency is reached (I like a 1:1 ratio of lemon juice to olive oil). Season with salt and pepper.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups mixed greens and herbs and about 1 1/2 cups barley (I had some grain already cooked, but should you be starting from scratch, you'll need about 45 minutes for the barley to cook. Farro or another toothsome grain could be a great alternative here). Add in the grilled fennel and snap peas, crispy chickpeas, and about 1/4 cup or more freshly chopped dill. Drizzle with vinaigrette, season with salt and pepper, and toss. Let sit about 5 minutes, garnish with more dill as needed, and serve.