Mozza Salad: I could eat this EVERY night!

My most favorite salad in the world with the most badassical garbanzo beans I have ever had, and that says it all considering I used to gag on garbanzo beans.  SERIOUSLY! DO NOT MAKE THIS SALAD UNLESS YOU MAKE THESE GARBANZO BEANS. Okay.  OKAY!  Make the  #*!&$ salad and open a can of beans, but I’m telling ya’ — once you make these beans, you’re a gonner.

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Ingredients:

1 small head iceberg lettuce (I prefer romaine and a little arugula)
1 medium head radicchio (I usually leave this out)
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
1 pint small sweet cherry tomatoes, halved through the
stem ends
1 1/2 c. garbanzo beans (KILLUH recipe below)
4 oz. Provolone or Fontina, sliced 1/8″ thick and cut into 1/4″ wide strips
4 oz. salami, sliced 1/8″ thick and cut into 1/8″ wide strips
5 peperoncini, stems and thinly sliced

juice of 1/2 lemon  plus more to taste
dried oregano for sprinkling

Oregano Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Combine all ingredients.  Drizzle 1/2 c. of the vinaigrette over and toss to coat well.  Squeeze the lemon juice over the salad – and again gently toss.  Taste for seasoning and add more salt, lemon juice or vinaigrette to taste.  Pile the salad onto plates, and sprinkle with dried oregano.  Yum! Yum! Eat ‘em up!!

Oregano Vinaigrette

In Nancy Silverton’s wonderful Mozza cookbook, she calls for 1  and 1/2 cups of olive oil in this dressing, but for my taste, that’s about a cup too much. Start with 3/4 cup of olive oil, and then whisk it in — let the dressing sit for a while. Then taste and add oil to your taste — I usually don’t add any more.

2 1/2 T. red wine vinegar
2 T. dried oregano
1 T. fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
1 grated clove of garlic (Silverton also calls for 1 more smashed clove — but that’s too much garlic for my taste)
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. freshly ground pepper
3/4 c. olive oil

Combine all ingredients except for the olive oil and whisk. Add the olive oil in a slow, thin stream, whisking constantly. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice to taste. Refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving, whisking to recombine.

THE BEST GARBANZO BEANS I HAVE EVER HAD — MAY BE EVEN BETTER THAN BACON!

CECI

Note:  Start these the night before . . . they  need to soak overnight.

1 cup dry chickpeas, soaked overnight
2 tablespons kosher salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large carrot, peeled and halved
1 celery rib, halved
1 dried arbol chile (I had New Mexico chiles. Seemed to work fine!)
16 garlic cloves (I know, I know.  I think I got tired of peeling garlic after 12)
1/2 yellow onion, halved

Drain the chickpeas and put them in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover them by 1 1/2 inches. Add the salt and the olive oil. Place the carrot, celery, chile, garlic, and onion in a double piece of cheesecloth and tie it into a closed bundle with kitchen twine. Add the bundle to the pot with the chickpeas and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer the chickpeas until they are very tender and creamy, about 2 hours, adding more water to the pot as needed but never covering them by more than an inch to an inch and a half. (Cooking them in just enough water yields richer-tasting, creamier beans than if you were to just boil them in tons of water.) (Note: the time will vary greatly depending on how long you soaked the beans and how old the beans are; the time could be anywhere from 1 hour to as long as 4.)

Turn off the heat and allow the chickpeas to cool in the cooking liquid. Remove and discard the cheesecloth bundle. The chickpeas can be prepared to this point up to a week in advance. If you are using the chickpeas now, drain them, reserving the cooking liquid to use as a hearty, chickpea-flavored base for vegetable soup. To use later, transfer the chickpeas and the cooking liquid to an airtight container and refrigerate until you are ready to use. Bring the chickpeas to room temperature and drain them before using.

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