Saturday, May 13, 2017

Chickpea "Ceviche" Salad

This was a lot of effort so I wouldn't waste half a bunch of cilantro.  One of my co-workers brought ceviche, and it was really good, but I only had a couple of bites because I'm uncomfortable with the idea of raw shellfish.  (She didn't blanch the shrimp.)  Even sushi shellfish is cooked.

Which brings me to the air quotes in the title of this dish.  The proteins and eggplant are cooked, making this much safer to eat and easier to digest, but technically not ceviche.  Also, subbing in legumes for tilapia makes this less of the fish dish that ceviche is supposed to be.  Ceviche doesn't merely mean raw any more than carpaccio merely means thinly sliced and raw.  There's a whole lot more to those concepts, and it really bothers me when vegetables are called carpaccio because they're paper thin.  This title is the closest approximation of the taste based on terms familiar to an average cook.  It's kind of a Mediterranean salad with a Mexican flair.  Since I'm mashing up cuisines, this isn't getting the Non-American label.  The definition of American cuisine is adapting foods from other lands.

For texture, I'm soaking and cooking the beans.  If you don't mind them a little mushy, go ahead and open a can.  Also, it's traditional to put tomatoes in ceviche, but I've been eating a lot of them lately and skipped it.

2/3 C dry chickpeas or one 15oz can
1/2 lb shrimp: peeled, deveined, and chopped
* 1 lemon
* 1 C chopped cilantro leaves
* 1 C diced red onion
*3 cloves garlic, minced
*1 small eggplant - more traditional, avocado
1/4 C finely diced cucumber
salt and pepper to taste
1 jalapeño, diced (optional)

1.  If cooking the chickpeas from dry, soak for at least 12 hours.  Drain, place in a small saucepan with 3 C water, and bring to a simmer.  Cook for two hours and drain again.  Or, just open a can and rinse well.

2.  If using eggplant, preheat oven to 400º.  Cut off stem cap and pierce in a few places.  Roast until softened, about 1 hour.  Cool, then dice pulp.  For avocado, cut in half and scoop out flesh, then dice.

3.  To cook the shrimp, bring a medium pot of water to a boil, then turn off the heat.  Immediately stir in shrimp pieces and cover.  Let sit in the hot water until just barely cooked all the way through, about 2 minutes.  Drain and place in ice water to stop the cooking.

4.  To assemble, get out a large bowl.  Put in cooked chickpeas, eggplant, and shrimp.  Add chopped cilantro, diced onion, diced jalapeño, and minced garlic.  Stir in the juice of the lemon and allow everything to marinate in the refrigerator until chilled, about 1 hour.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.  Stir in cucumber shortly before serving so it doesn't pickle and get soft.  Serve chilled, preferably with chips or tortillas.

Difficulty rating :)

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