Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Ultimate Chickpea Salad Sandwich

My cousin recently told me that she had a great vegan sandwich at a New York City sandwich place called 'Wichcraft'.  I immediately went to Google and was able to find the recipe. It did sound really good and as it turns out it was really good.  The reason I call it the ultimate sandwich is that it literally took me THREE DAYS to make!

This sandwich has a layer of lemon confit- that is the lemon slice you see hanging out of the sandwich.  Lemon confit is something I have never made or had before. It was a bit of an adventure it- it does take three days to make (at a minimum).. It adds an interesting flavor profile to the sandwich. If you are not inclined to make lemon confit, no worries- you certainly do not need it for this sandwich to work.

Chickpea salad sandwiches are absolutely my go to lunch. I eat them multiple times a week and until now I always used Vegenaise mixed with the chickpeas.  This recipe is a vinegar and oil based salad and it is very flavorful and a welcome addition to my chickpea salad repertoire!

The Ultimate Chick Pea Salad Sandwich (adapted from 'Wichcraft in New York)

For the Lemon Confit:
Six lemons seeded and sliced very thin
3 shallots, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup sea salt
1/4 cup organic cane sugar
~2 cups extra virgin olive oil

Boil some water and briefly submerge the lemons in order to remove any waxy coating. Dry the lemons and slice them very thin.

Mix the shallots and garlic in a bowl and in a separate bowl the sugar and salt.

In a shallow dish place a layer of lemons in the bottom and cover with some shallot, garlic, salt and sugar mixture. Repeat the layering completing with a layer of sugar and salt. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least three days to allow the lemons to cure.  Halfway through, flip the stacks of lemons in order to allow them to cure evenly.

Lemons ready for the refrigerator.

After three days remove lemons and drain in a colander for 15 minutes.  Transfer to a jar and cover with the olive oil.  This will keep in the refrigerator for up to one month.

For the chickpea salad:
4 cups cooked chickpeas
2 tbsp plus 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion cut into large chunks
1 celery stalk, cut in half, plus 1 cup finely diced celery
2 medium carrots, peeled and halved
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup red onion, diced
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 garlic gloves, minced
1 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Heat the 2 tbsp olive oil in a dutch oven or other large vessel. Add the yellow onion chunks, carrot and celery stalk and heat until the vegetables start to brown and become fragrant.  Place 2 sprigs of  rosemary and 2 sprigs of  thyme in a cheesecloth and tie.  Add to the vegetables.Season with salt and pepper.  Add the garlic and saute a few minutes longer.  Add the chickpeas and enough water to cover by about two inches.  Bring to a gentle simmer for about half hour.  Drain the liquid (I kept this to use as stock) and remove the vegetables.  Set aside to cool.


In a bowl mix the onions and vinegar and allow to sit for 15 minutes.Drain and transfer onions to the bowl of cooled chickpeas and add the chopped celery. Rough chop the remaining herbs and add them along with the chopped parsley,  remaining oil, lemon juice and lemon zest and add to the chickpea mixture.Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

For the sandwiches:
8 sliced country bread, toasted
1/4 cup nicoise olives, chopped
Chickpea salad
Slices of lemon confit

Place a layer of chickpea salad on a slice of  bread, add a layer of nicoise olives and a layer of lemon confit.  Top with a second slice of bread.

This will make four to six sandwiches.

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