On its own, the salad is lovely, and a nice beginner to any summer entree. Piling it on top of toasted bread transforms it from an appetizer to a substantial main course. Perfect for lunch or a light, but filling, dinner.
Good quality bread is key here. Think sturdy, too, along the lines of country bread, something that can hold the topping when you pick it up. (And not to add to your To Do List, but either one of these recipes is perfect for this recipe, or any other recipe you might be considering!) Grilling the bread adds a nice charred flavor to the tartine. If you don’t have an outdoor grill, toasting it in a cast iron skillet is a great alternative.
Pecorino-Romano cheese is what I usually have on hand, but Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano would be equally lovely. Use a cheese slicer or a vegetable peeler to shave paper-thin slices, and use as much or as little as you like, or leave it out if you want to keep this dairy-free.
One last note to share. I realize it sounds a bit fussy to peel the outer skin from the chickpeas. Trust me, it’s so worth the extra few minutes.
Okay, time to get down to the business at hand. Here’s the recipe.
Chickpea & Fennel Tartine
1/2 can of chickpeas, outer skins peeled
1 skinny stalk of fennel, stalks thinly sliced & fronds chopped
Handful flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
Shaved Pecorino-Romano cheese
1 tablespoon Dress It Up Dressing Red Wine Vinaigrette
1 to 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more grilling bread
Squeeze of fresh lemon
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 pieces of country bread
Preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
Add the chickpeas to a deep bowl. Use the back of a fork, or a potato masher, to roughly smash them. Add the fennel, parsley, cheese, Red Wine Vinaigrette, oil, and lemon juice. Stir to mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Let the salad sit for a few minutes while you prepare the bread.
Brush both sides of the bread with a bit of olive oil. Place on the grill, and cook until toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side another 1 to 2 minutes until toasted.
Divide the chickpea & fennel salad on top of the grilled bread slices. Shave a few more pieces of cheese on top. Cut each slice in half, and serve immediately.