Monday, June 27, 2011

Island Paradise Salad with Teriyaki Chickpeas and Fresh Pineapple...

Now that summer is here I’m craving tropical food. Carribean, South East Asian, Hawaiian, and Mediterranean inspired dishes are currently the most appealing to me. With the sun hot and burning, and the humidity increasing I’m craving salads, salads, salads, or other meals that require minimal use of my oven, and stove top. I’ve been dreaming a lot about The tropics, Puerto Rico where I spent a week in February, and Hawaii, Maui to be exact where I’ll be going in October for the umpteenth time. I’ve been dreaming of palm trees, swollen coconuts, crashing waves, and ocean breezes. Calm summer nights under clear cloudless skies, and dinner outside on the terrace of a lovely little condo. I’ve been dreaming of leisurely morning beach walks at sunrise, biking up a sleeping volcano, and long hikes through ancient forests of ridiculously tall trees. I’ve been dreaming of roadside markets selling the sweetest fresh onions you’ve ever tasted in your life. Onions you can eat like apples, where Bob Marley’s sweet voice is the ‘noise pollution’ of choice, and guava’s hang large and ripe for the picking. I dream of sea turtles, starfish, dolphins and whales. Childhood memories of geckos, shell necklaces, sand castles, sandals, fresh fruit’s and vegetables, and summer salads have me aching to be back in that tropical paradise; but for now I have to content myself with what I have here. A few days ago, in an attempt to find something to sate my far away dreams and my tropical tastebuds I threw this salad together. It was incredibly delicious, and filling and wonderfully reminiscent (for me) of another place and another time.

A little advanced preparation is required for this recipe, but it’s worth it.

Island Paradise Salad with Teriyaki Chickpeas and Fresh Pineapple

1 15oz can chickpeas
Roughly half a head of romaine lettuce chopped
1 quarter to 1 half a small red onion diced (or to taste)
1 medium sized tomato diced
1/4 C chopped green onions
Finely chopped cilantro for garnish
1 Handful of thinly sliced red cabbage
½ red pepper broiled
1/4-1/2C Your Favorite Teriyaki sauce
3 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp agave nectar (or to taste)
*** Hawaiian Red Alaea Sea Salt to taste (See Note)
Pinch of black pepper
Dash of Garlic Powder
½-3/4 cup diced fresh pineapple (or to taste)

- Drain and rinse your chickpeas under cold water. Then place them in a small sauce pot over medium heat on the stove and pour over roughly 1/4-1/2C of your favorite Teriyaki Sauce. (I use Organic Ville brand) When you pour in the sauce you don’t want your chickpeas to be drowning in it. You want there to be enough sauce to coat all the chickpeas, but it doesn’t have to be enough sauce to cover the entire 15oz.

- Bring the chickpeas to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer uncovered for roughly 10-15 minutes.

- While chickpeas are on the stove, place your red pepper half on a lightly greased broiler pan and broil on high until skin blackens. When red pepper is done place in a bowl or on a plate and put into the freezer for 5 minutes to quick chill it, so that the skin peels off easily.

- Assemble your salad. Chop your romaine, Cabbage, onion, tomato, and green onion and place into a bowl.

- Remove pepper from freezer, peel away blackened skin and discard. Chop pepper either fine or rough and toss into the salad.

- When chickpeas are done place a metal sieve over a bowl and drain the chickpeas into the sieve. Making sure that the bowl collects the excess Teriyaki marinade. Let chickpeas cool for a few minutes and then add them into the salad.

- Chop Pineapple and Cilantro and add to the salad.

- Stir lime juice, agave, Red Sea Salt, and pepper into your reserved Teriyaki marinade. Drizzle in a little water to thin, and add a dash of garlic powder. Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed, the pour over your salad and enjoy!

***Note - If you do not have Hawaiian Red Alaea Sea Salt, and it’s not something that you can easily find, or think you would use in other recipes, you can simply use Sea Salt. The red alaea salt in my opinion dose have a stronger flavor but I don’t think using regular sea salt would make the salad any less delicious. If you do have Red Alaea sea salt and yours is very course like mine, you may want to consider grinding it to a fine powder using a mortar and pestle, which is what I did. Also if you live in the Chicagoland area and you are really interested in getting your hands on some Red Alaea sea salt, I get mine from The Spice House. They have a lot of great spices here, some really unique and wonderful things, and I’ll probably talk a lot more about them in the future. Definitely check them out if you live in the area, they have several locations, both in the city out of it.***

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