Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Garbanzo Gratin

The theme for this post is quick and easy.  It will be a quick and easy post, because this is a quick and easy dish.  Garbanzo bean gratin!  I prepared it as a side dish to go along with an oven roasted tri-tip and a green salad.  In order to keep things exciting,  I will provide some ingredient background...

Our friends Karen and Ricardo had recently returned from a stint in España; Ricardo is Spanish (Karen is Brazilian) and they had moved there in hopes of settling down to raise a family.  The reasons behind why that didn't work out as planned are many, but they ended up moving back to Santa Cruz-good news for us as we would have missed them.  Also in our favor, was their decision to gift us some culinary treats from the Iberian peninsula: jamon serrano, aceite de oliva virgen extra, y pimiento asado del Bierzo!  (Translation: dry-cured ham, extra virgin olive oil, and roasted peppers from Bierzo).  El Bierzo is a region in the northwestern Spanish province of León.  They are, as you may have guessed, well known for there roasted peppers.  Ricardo told me that the way his family eats them is simply by slicing them and drizzling extra virgin olive oil over the top.  Spanish roasted peppers are also commonly stuffed, sometimes with tuna or salt cod, or perhaps cheese (I couldn't find an Amazon link for asados del Bierzo, but you can order the equally delicious piquillo peppers from Navarra by clicking the link on the right).

I, however, chose to incorporate the peppers into a baked garbanzo gratin.  Again, this recipe really could not be more simple.  I used canned garbanzos, which I rinsed and scattered into a ceramic baking dish.  I then tossed in some sliced sweet onion and the sliced peppers, and drizzled some extra virgin olive oil over the top.  I kept the seasoning very simple so the peppers would be the star of show; salt, pepper, and some fresh thyme.  I had preheated the oven to 400° and tightly wrapped the baking dish in foil.  The beans baked for 10-15 minutes, I then removed the foil and sprinkled some grated manchego cheese on top.  The dish went back into the oven uncovered for another 5-10 minutes, until the cheese starts to brown nicely.

That's it!  A very easy dish that can be done in a number of different ways; add tomatoes, add some bacon, change up the beans, change up the cheese...    I think next time I make it I just may puree half of the beans and maybe even add some cream.  Mmmmm.

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