Thursday, October 09, 2008

Pepper, tomatoes and chick peas

My wife has developed a mild intolerance to gluten. I don't share it; but it has made me more aware that wheat products can sit heavily on the stomach. Coming home late, one is tempted to cook a quick and simple pasta dish, ending up with a slightly bloated feeling. Now, I usually have rice instead, probably with a more substantial sauce than I would serve with, say, spaghetti.

This is what I made for myself last night.

1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
I green pepper, deseeded and cut into fork-sized pieces
2 tomatoes, plunged into boiling water for 20 seconds, skinned and chopped
5tbsp tinned chick peas
1tsp harissa
2tbsp creme fraiche
Salt, to taste

Soften the garlic in the olive oil. Throw in all the other ingredients, and simmer until thickened. Reducing the sauce to a rich consistency may take a good 20 minutes: the tomatoes and pepper will cause it to be very liquid at first. So you have time to cook the rice while that's happening.


Anonymous said...

what do you mean, 'soften' the garlic? you can just about get away with saying that about slow-sweated onion, but I think for garlic you need a more precise verb.

Nicholas Clee said...

Fair point. Fry it very gently for a minute or so, I mean.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Nicholas (I read with interest your spiel on frying onions in your book, by the way!).
Always the danger with garlic is burning it. And frying it doesn't really 'aromatise' the oil the way that, say, frying sage leaves does.I wonder, for recipes like these, whether it shouldn't simply be mixed in with the tomatoes/pepper &c. (as with a salsa)? Regards, Alex

Nicholas Clee said...

It does temper the flavour, though - just as other alliums, such as onions and leeks, lose their harshness through sweating in fat. Whereas in a salsa you want raw, vibrant flavours.

I agree with you about the effect of the garlic on the oil. Some recipes tell you to put whole garlic cloves, slightly bashed, to warm in oil, before removing them. Those writers must have more sensitive taste buds than mine.

Anonymous said...

Someone has sent me a garlic tip useful for this type of situation. Put a clove (unpeeled) in the oven for 15 mins. then peel and bash into the oil - much more juice comes out, but no burntness. regards, alex

Nicholas Clee said...

I shall definitely try that. Thanks.