Since having moved to Chicago--that was almost two years ago now--I've somehow gotten out of the habit of making weekly trips to a farmers' market. Last summer, I found myself at the Logan's Square market only once, and that was by accident--I was in the neighbourhood for brunch with a friend from out of town, and it happened to be in full swing right around the corner. I've been really busy since last spring, but have I really been that busy? Probably not. Tomorrow, I will make it to the market in my neighbourhood bright and early. Cross my heart.
A few weeks ago, I was really desperate for a trip to the market. It was stiflingly hot in the apartment, and I was tired of the rich, heavy, stewy things that had been my winter staples. I wanted something fresh, something that tasted like the season. But I was still scrambling to meet a deadline and couldn't tear myself away from my work for too long. So, for dinner that night, I settled on something that looked practical, something that I could shop for just down the street.
Yotam Ottolenghi calls this dish a chickpea sauté with greek yogurt. On paper, honestly, it looked pretty unremarkable to me, a warm salad of Swiss chard, carrots, chickpeas, lemon, and herbs. I wasn't expecting anything spectacular. So it took me by surprise. It was everything that I'd been wanting. It was refreshing and bright, evocative of early summer. The chard stems and carrots still had some of their crunch and initial sweetness, as though just pulled from someone's garden. The yogurt, mint, and cilantro, I'm sure, helped with that, cooling and fresh on the palate. I could almost forget that I hadn't been anywhere near a farmers' market that day. And even though I will get myself to the market tomorrow, I might just look for more chard and carrots there with this dish in mind.
Chickpea Sauté with Greek Yogurt
Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty
1 large bunch Swiss chard (about 8 cups)
5 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to finish
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 1/2 to 2 cups freshly cooked chickpeas (canned are fine too)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon mint, chopped
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup Greek or other full-fat yogurt
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Separate the chard stalks from the leaves. Blanch the stalks in plenty of boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Add the leaves and continue cooking for 2 minutes, then drain everything. Refresh under cold running water and squeeze dry, then chop roughly.
Heat up 4 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan. Add the carrots and caraway seeds and sauté for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add the chard and chickpeas and continue cooking for 6 minutes. Now add the garlic, herbs, and lemon juice and some salt and pepper. Remove from heat and cool down a little. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
To serve, mix together the yogurt, olive oil, and some salt and pepper. Pile the vegetables on serving dishes and spoon the yogurt on top. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and drizzle over more olive oil.