You might recall that I used to eat a lot of spinach, in the form of something we called “gruel.” But now that I’m beyond all that baby food, Mama serves me sautéed spinach and kale, and I notice she puts herbs in everything. I am no longer such a fan.
Mama had some leftover halibut from fish tacos, so she decided fish cakes would make for a good dinner. Papa peeled and boiled the potatoes, and Mama raided the garden for the mint and parsley. The cakes came together pretty quickly, so Mama decided on her favorite chickpea salad as an accompaniment.
While Mama’s a proponent of cooking beans, she feels this is only something a person who has her act together can do, and Mama is not one of those people. She doesn’t have various pots of beans and grains cooking and all her vegetables cut for the week ahead on a Sunday. She just doesn’t. So when it comes to a superfast side dish (or sometimes, in Mama’s case, a main dish), she likes being able to reach into her cupboard and pull out a can of beans. Just drain, rinse, and serve. Now, I’ve been slow to come to chickpeas (though I like to say “chick-pea”), but I very recently ate half a can all on my own. So Mama felt pretty confident I’d share her gusto for garbanzo salad.
Not so much. I couldn’t find one that was just a plain old chickpea. All that basil and parsley. Doesn’t she get that toddlers have a clinical aversion to green showing up on non-green foods? As for the fish cakes, I took my obligatory one bite, but that was enough for me. I liked the crispy fried part okay, but it still tasted fishy—and there was all that greenery. I ended up sharing it with the dog. The green I didn’t mind was the avocado I ended up eating for dinner.
Herbed Chickpea Salad
1 can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
Handful of fresh parsley, minced
Handful of fresh basil, minced
1–2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of ½ lemon (or more, to taste)
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
Drizzle of olive oil
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
As you can see, this is a pretty loose recipe. Mama just does it all to taste. Start with a little of an ingredient and add more. Remember, you can always add more, but you can’t take it away!