CHICKPEA BALLS WITH CATALAN ROMESCO SAUCE
IngredientsServes about 3 dozen balls and 2-3 cups (500-750 ml) of sauce
2 x 19 oz (540 ml) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
1 lemon, finely grated, zest only
2 tsp (10 ml) ground coriander
2 tsp (10 ml) ground cumin
1 tsp (5 ml) Hungarian paprika
½ tsp (2 ml) sea salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup (60 ml) fine, dry bread crumbs
2 tbsp (30 ml) minced fresh parsley
1 egg, whisked
2 tbsp (30 ml) fresh lemon juice
3 cups (750 ml) arugula, to finish
3 tbsp (45 ml) olive oil, to finish
¼ cup (60 ml) marcona almonds, to finish
1 lemon, juice and zest, to finish
1 large red bell pepper
2 dried Nora chilies
2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
1 slice white or whole wheat bread
½ yellow cooking onion, diced
1 x 14 oz (398 ml) can fire-roasted, diced tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced and smashe
1 pinch sea salt
1 pinch granulated sugar
½ cup (125 ml) coarsely chopped marcona almonds
1 tbsp (15 ml) red wine vinegar
extra-virgin olive oil, to finish
- To make CHICKPEA BALLS: In a food processor, combine chickpeas, garlic, lemon zest, coriander, cumin, paprika and salt. Pulse until chickpeas are finely chopped, scraping down sides of bowl with a spatula a few times. Add pepper, to taste. Add bread crumbs, parsley, egg and lemon juice and pulse briefly to blend.
- Transfer mixture to a bowl and work with hands to fully blend. It should be consistency of cookie dough. Pinch dough together using fingertips and roll into 1 to 1½-in (2.5 to 4 cm) balls. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet, allowing a little space between balls, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat broiler and prepare ROMESCO SAUCE: Place bell pepper on baking sheet about 4-in (10 cm) from burner. Broil, turning pepper with tongs every couple minutes until pepper is blackened and soft. Remove and cool in a covered bowl.
- In a small bowl, cover dried chilies with boiling water and set aside to soak for 30 minutes.
- Heat oil in a frying pan. Add bread and fry over medium-high heat until golden on both sides and quite crisp. Remove from pan and set aside to cool. Finely dice.
- Lower heat to medium, add onion to remaining oil in frying pan and sauté until soft. Add tomatoes, garlic, pinches of salt and sugar to taste and a little water. Simmer for 10 minutes until sauce is slightly thickened. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
- Once cooled, peel and seed roasted red bell pepper. Finely chop and add to tomatoes in bowl.
- Drain chilies and remove stems and seeds. Finely chop and add to tomatoes in bowl along with coarsely chopped marcona almonds. Stir everything together until well mixed.
- Fold in diced bread and red wine vinegar. Taste and add more seasonings and sugar if you wish. For a smoother mixture, whirl in food processor, if desired. Splash some extra-virgin olive oil on top. Mixture can be made ahead and refrigerated up to 2 days.
- Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Brush or spray chickpea balls all over with 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil. Bake in oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden and piping hot. Stir a couple of times during baking.
- To serve, toss arugula with remaining 2 tbsp (30 ml) oil, lemon zest and a little lemon juice in a medium bowl. Arrange on a platter or plate, sprinkle with a few almonds and top with Chickpea Balls and serve with a small bowl of Romesco Sauce drizzled with a little extra-virgin olive oil.