The earthy flavor of smoked chickpeas pairs especially well with bright, vivid flavors like those of pickled vegetables, cucumber, and fresh dill. This beautiful cauliflower pickle recipe comes from my friends Naomi and Joel Crawford, owners of Pizza Politana and Lunchette in Petaluma, California. The pickle recipe makes four quart jars that you’ll be happy to have on hand for snacking and future meals, but you can cut it in half if you prefer.
- In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with a generous amount of salt (I use about 3 tablespoons) and let it sit for at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 hour. Rinse and drain the florets.
- In a pot, combine the vinegar, 2 cups (475 ml) water, sugar, 2 tablespoons plus 1⁄2 teaspoons salt, curry powder, and turmeric and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the brine starts to boil, immediately turn off the heat.
- Fill each of four 1-quart jars with cauliflower, then add 1 teaspoon cardamom, 1 bay leaf, and 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (packing the vegetables tightly). Carefully divide the brine among the jars. Let the mixture cool 15 to 20 minutes, then seal with a tight-fitting lid. Let the jars stand at room temperature for 2 to 3 days before using, flipping and gently agitating each jar two times per day to distribute the spices (the longer the flavors have to develop, the deeper they will be). After that, store the sealed jars in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. Once opened, they’ll keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 months.
- Prepare a charcoal grill for two-zone cooking and build a medium-high fire, or heat a gas grill to high.
- When the coals are glowing red and covered with a fine gray ash, use tongs to remove the cooking grate and place a drip pan with 1 inch (2.5 cm) of warm water on the side with no coals, and add your smoke source (chips, chunks, or log). Return the cooking grate to its position, allow it to preheat, and then carefully wipe the preheated grill grates with a lightly oiled paper towel. Using a grill brush, scrape the grill grates clean, then carefully wipe with a lightly oiled towel again.
- To smoke dried peas, beans, or legumes, place them in a disposable aluminum pan or atop two sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil (crimp the edges of foil upward to create a rim and prevent them from sliding off). When the fire begins to produce a steady stream of smoke, place the pan over indirect heat, close the grill, vent the grill for smoking, and smoke for 25 to 40 minutes, until the peas, beans, or legumes are deeply fragrant and have darkened slightly. For even results, stir the ingredients and rotate the individual containers (if you’re smoking more than one item) around the heat after 15 to 20 minutes, and keep an eye on their color after 30 minutes to ensure they don’t become too dark.
- Rinse the chickpeas and discard any pebbles. Place the chickpeas in a large pot and add enough water to cover with cold water by 4 inches (10 cm). Bring the chickpeas to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn the heat to low and simmer until the chickpeas are tender, about 45 minutes, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface. Drain the chickpeas in a colander and transfer them to a large mixing bowl. Add the olive oil, vinegar, and shallots, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine.
- Set the chickpeas aside to cool for about 10 minutes, then add the Pickled Cauliflower, cucumber, dill, and parsley and toss to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more salt, pepper, or vinegar as desired. Serve immediately, or store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Reprinted with permission from Thank You For Smoking, copyright © 2019 by Paula Disbrowe. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photographs copyright © 2019 by Johnny Autry
Paula Disbrowe is the author of Thank You for Smoking.