Farmer's plate with chickpea puree and muhammara
( SERVES 4 )
Photo by Tam West
At AOC restaurant in Beverly Hills they showcase seasonal vegetables in a farmer's plate like this one. Change what you use according to the time of year. Asparagus, broccolini, cauliflower, peppers, pumpkin all work. The purees and dips can change too — carrot and broad bean purees feature regularly. The vegetables here are served warm on a platter with torn burrata, chickpea puree, muhammara and grilled bread. The muhammara is a recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi. I didn't play around with it because it's just so good. It is also great with grilled lamb. The flavours improve after a day in the fridge but bring it to room temperature before serving.
This farmer's plate serves 4 as a snack or appetiser. It is a fun dish to eat, sitting around with a group, dipping in and out and building your own mouthfuls. You could also serve it in individual portions.
For more, see Eating LA, my guide to feasting on some of the newer food trends in the City of Angels.
Vegetables and bread
|1 bunch||Baby carrot|
|2 small||Fennel bulbs|
|6 slices||Sourdough bread, use up to 12, grilled|
|1 tsp||Cumin seeds|
|¾ cup||Extra virgin olive oil|
|3 large||Garlic cloves, crushed|
|3 cups||Chickpeas, canned, drained, juice reserved|
Vegetables and bread
- Scrub and slice vegetables to give them an even cooking time; i.e. baby carrots can stay whole, baby beets sliced in half, parsnip in quarters lengthwise, kumara and potatoes in to wedges, fennel and onions in to quarters.
- Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in a hot oven, turning occasionally until vegetables are golden and crispy with caramelised edges. Some veg may cook quicker than others — remove them from the oven and set aside until the others are cooked.
- Serve vegetables warm on a platter with burrata (torn in to chunks), chickpea puree, muhammara and grilled bread.
- Toast the cumin seeds in a dry frying pan over medium heat until lightly toasted. Then grind in a mortar or spice mill.
- Heat ¼ cup of the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cumin, stir 1 minute. Add chickpeas, salt, paprika and cayenne and fry until chickpeas begin to darken (about 5 minutes).
- Pour out chickpea liquid and add enough water (if necessary) to measure 2 cups. Add liquid to chickpea mixture; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until chickpeas begin to soften, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Pour chickpea mixture into a strainer set over a bowl; reserve cooking liquid. Transfer chickpeas to food processor; add ¾ cup of reserved cooking liquid. Add ½ cup oil; puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Cool. This can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature before using.
- Heat the oven to 200C.
- Roast the peppers for 30-35 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are cooked and the skin is blackened. Put the peppers in a bowl, cover and, once cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skin and seeds.
- Place the peppers in a mortar. Add the breadcrumbs, lemon juice, molasses, cumin, chilli and garlic. Work this with a pestle until well combined, stopping before it becomes a puree — you want the peppers to still have some texture.
- Stir through the walnuts, salt and olive oil. Add more pomegranate molasses and salt to taste — the flavours should be pretty intense.
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