Passover is over, so bring on the bread. So profound is my yearning for bread that I’m choosing recipes like this one, that sneak extra bread into the sauce and also call for serving with bread. Bread as both ingredient and delivery system—this was the stuff of my Passover daydreams.
You may also notice that, once again, this recipe centers on greens and chickpeas, my perennial standbys. In other words, even if this recipe didn’t call for bread at a time when I crave it desperately, I wouldn’t have been able to stay away. But regardless of your greens-and-beans proclivities, you should make this dish, pronto. Even as an aficionado of all these ingredients, I was astonished by how delicious it was. No question, it’s going in the non-Passover repertoire.
Two 15-ounce cans of chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
4 links chorizo [I used excellent chicken chorizo from Whole Foods]
1 pound spinach, washed
A hefty 1-inch slice from a country loaf or about 2 slices from sandwich loaf bread (about 2.5 ounces), crusts removed and cut inset small cubes [I used some of this, from my freezer]
1/2 cup (4 ounces) tomato sauce
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika [this is essential]
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put about three tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet—ideally, the chickpeas can go in one layer, but that might be wishful thinking on Bittman’s part–over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add chickpeas and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until chickpeas begin to brown, about 10 minutes, then add chorizo. Continue cooking for another 5 to 8 minutes or until chickpeas are crisp and chorizo is done. Remove from heat.
While chickpeas are cooking, heat about two liters of water in a kettle. Place spinach and large bowl. When water is boiling, pour over spinach and let sit for about two minutes, or until spinach is bright green and wilted. Pour into colander and drain well. Chop spinach coarsely. (You can also cook the spinach on the stovetop, but I love the kettle method.)
Heat 2 more tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Fry the bread for about 5 minutes or until golden brown all over, then add another tablespoon of oil and the garlic, cumin and pepper. Cook for 1 minute more or until the garlic is nutty brown.
Transfer to a food processor, blender, or mortar and pestle along with the vinegar, and mash to a paste. Add to chickpea/chorizo mixture with tomato sauce and spinach. Stir to combine and season with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika.
Serve on fried bread toasts, or with a spoon.