One of my major perks, on days I work from home, is having the opportunity to make myself something really good for lunch. If those days also happen to feature me making chicken stock or reconstituting a big bag of dried pulses – these things happen in the kitchen without me having to think about them – there’s more of a treat in store. A couple of scoops of chicken stock get siphoned off to make a gutsy noodle broth, infused with slivers of ginger, garlic and chilli and eaten with relish. Freshly cooked butter beans can easily find themselves tossed with a sundried tomato dressing and some of the left-over roast pumpkin from last night’s dinner.
My most successful recent impromptu lunch involved chickpeas. I cooked a few handfuls of the just-tender pulses in my cast iron pan with some olive oil, taking plenty of time, until they were toasty and golden, added some garlic and lemon juice while the pan was still hot then tossed them with plenty of freshly grated parmesan. Simple and delicious.
Warm Chickpea Salad with Parmesan
Olive oil – 1-2 tablespooons
Chickpeas – 240g or 1 can, drained
Garlic – 1 clove, sliced
Lemon – ½, juiced
Parmesan – a good handful, grated
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan. Add the chickpeas and cook over a moderate heat, patiently shuffling them around every few minutes until they start to go golden brown. Add more oil to the pan if necessary then toss in the sliced garlic and cook until soft. Squeeze in the lemon juice, sizzle for a moment, then pour into a serving bowl and toss with the parmesan and black pepper to taste.
Serves 2 as a side salad or one hungry-at-lunchtime person, with some sliced tomatoes on the side.