As the summer swelter begins to arrive, I'm sometimes as adverse to cooking dinner as I am to wearing wool socks. There are just some days when actually contributing to the amount of heat in the house seems like absolute madness. These are the times when room-temperature dishes like these bruschetta-style recipe are the sanest thing there is.
If you've ever eaten at Mario Batali's restaurant Babbo in Greenwich Village, you might remember this dish from the start of your meal, when it was brought out in a little dish as an amuse-bouche while you scanned the menu.
It's a remarkably flavorful concoction, one of those where it's hard to trace each ingredient back. You get a hint of rosemary, but it doesn't dominate, and despite the olive paste there's little taste of olive. It's sort of the way spices work in a curry, disappearing into a married whole.
- 1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons black olive paste
- 2 tablespoons good-quality balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, finely shredded.
- 1 garlic clove, or coarsley chopped
- Thick crusty bread
Mix all ingredients together. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes, preferably longer.
Toast the bread or grill it for more dramatic presentation. Spoon mixture on bread, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.