Chick peas are my best friend when I am all out of ideas for dinner. I'd thawed out some pork loins the previous day and hadn't thought about anything else until it came time to make dinner. Vince (head chef from Union) and I were playing around with different versions of harissa last week and I had some leftover in the fridge, so I pulled it out with the idea of putting it on the side when serving the pork. I knew I wanted to use up the broad beans in the fridge but I need a 'vehicle' to carry them otherwise the boys would of be up in arms with a pile of foreign green on their plate. The can of chickpeas was my 'vehicle'.
I'm not sure how it all came about but the colors of the yellow and bright green together clicked and then I thought about other foods that the boys would like to see as to disguise the fact I was offering up a new green veggie- feta cheese, an all time favorite! All of a sudden the penny dropped and I thought why not use the harissa as a dressing on our chickpea salad and make a quick red wine vinaigrette for the boys. Just before I put the harissa on I took out the boys portion, mixed theirs with 1 Tablespoon of red wine vinegar and 3 Tablespoons of Extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper (added tomatoes to Max's- Alex got olives instead), poured the harissa over the remaining salad for Nic and I. The pork loins were seasoned with salt and pepper then grilled, rested and sliced and the salad served on top.
We ALL loved this family meal. Boys are happy because they have the sharp soft textures and flavors of the feta and vinegar while Nic and I were enjoying the diverse flavors of the really HOT and garlicky harissa with the creamy Greek feta. Chick peas were perfect to match all these big flavors with the right textures for all age groups. The other good thing about harissa- it lasts for a long time in the fridge, so if you make it once you can use it through out the month in a number of ways.
There is always a tin of chickpeas in the cupboard- you never know when they will come in handy, be it for a salad dip or burger.