Before I tell you more about our absolute favorite appetizer, I want to share something personal. As you may know, things around here have been challenging lately. With heavy hearts after a particularly difficult morning, we thought that, just maybe, a walk in Golden Gate Park would change the course of the day. The park was brimming with joggers, sun-bathers, picnickers, and even musicians taking full advantage of the rare, sun-soaked day in early May (yes, I am that behind in posting).
We came across a kind elderly woman walking her dog who guided us to a quiet trail where we could be alone with our thoughts. We slowly walked following the patches of sunlight through the leaves and pausing to revel in the natural beauty surrounding us.
Just past the de Young, we escaped into a beautiful Japanese tea garden where we sat in a zen-induced state listening to the bubbling creek. Suddenly the heavy fog associated with unsettling news dissipated, and we returned to our usual, ridiculously happy, can't-stop-smiling selves. I realized with a full heart and a clenched throat that I am the luckiest girl in the world to have had such rich experiences, to know this incredible love, and to experience such goodness in this world. We are truly blessed to live with such purpose. I pray that this spirit in me never stills, even in the most trying circumstances.
Now back to the recipe at hand: this spicy chickpea bruschetta is one of our favorite appetizers. I love making this dish when we have company- it is easy share, fast, and utterly delicious! I have gotten several requests from friends to post the simple yet fantastic recipe. In fact the first time I made it, I was told, "We eat out a lot at really good restaurants around the city and, without a doubt, this is the best bruschetta ever." You can easily make variations of this dish with leeks, rosemary, and black olive paste, but honestly the simple version is so wonderful and takes less than 15 minutes to make.
Saute red onions in olive oil until soft with a heaping 1/4 tsp red chili flakes. Add a can of chick peas (drained and rinsed) and sprinkle generously with sea salt, cooking about 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and lightly crush most of the chick peas with the back of a fork. Spoon onto thick toasted slices of sourdough and drizzle with really good olive oil.
Spicy Ceci brushchetta
1 15oz can of chick peas, rinsed and drained
1 small red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
1/2 tsp red chili flakes, or to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
high quality olive oil for drizzling
flakey salt, like Maldon
6-8 thick slices of bread, lightly toasted or grilled (I used an Acme sour batard)
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute red onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Add red chili flakes and mix well. Add chick peas and season with Maldon. Stir to coat well and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft. Remove from heat, lightly smash some of the chick peas with the back of a fork. Spoon mixture onto toasted or grilled bread. drizzle with good olive oil, and serve immediately.