For this installation of the 5 Star Makeover we were challenged to create a 5-star style dish with seasonal ingredients from our local farmers’ market. We could use standard pantry items, but everything else had to come from the market. Even though our deadline was extended an extra month due to holiday travel and even though the challenge was pretty straight forward I will admit that I had zero idea what I was going to make until I went to the farmers’ market on Sunday with the fabulous Jessi of To Kiss the Cook.
Thankfully the Wicker Park Farmers’ Market was brim with inspiration. My goal was to find an item that was new to me and to build a dish around it. And this quest was successful because I found…
Fresh garbanzo beans! I was incredibly excited because while I am understandably very familiar with the canned and dried varieties, fresh garbanzos were an entirely new discovery for me.
And incredibly cute to boot with their fuzzy teardrop shaped pods that were approximately the size of my thumb. See I told you. Adorable! And I don’t say that about just any old bean.
The first step was to toss them in a bit of olive oil and roast them off in a 400 degree oven since every source I consulted mandated that I absolutely NOT boil them. I have zero idea why, but since, like most farmers’ market fare, they were priced on the steep side I didn’t really want to find out. Instead I opted to toss the pods lightly in olive oil and roast them, since I figured this would enhance the flavor far more than steaming them (the other recommended technique).
Once my beans were out of the oven. My initial thought was to make a fresh version of hummus. Creative? Probably not, but it seemed like the best way to compare their flavor to dried or canned. Only, as I began to shell them I realized that although the pods had become golden and lightly charred during cooking, the beans themselves had remained a lovely pea green hue. Suddenly the thought of soiling that vibrancy with the traditional components of hummus seemed sad. So I made a delicious Fresh Garbanzo Bean and Goat Cheese Pate instead.
In my food processor I whirled together the roasted fresh garbanzo beans, olive oil, goat cheese, Parmesan cheese, water, vinegar, onion powder, and a bit of dried dill. The result was the perfect marriage of fresh and indulgent. It was so satisfying as a steamy summer night’s dinner atop flat bread and carrot sticks. I especially love how the vinegar and goat cheese gave it the slightest zing which paired really nicely with a bottle of wine I happened to have open. (The wine is a 2010 Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Riesling if you’re wondering. And don’t let the name fool you, it’s actually an exceptional value-priced wine. I discovered it about 3 or 4 years ago and it’s been one of my go-to easy drinking white wines since then.)
My only (slight) nit about this dish is that my food professor couldn’t quite get the fresh garbanzos as smooth and silky as it normally does with cooked dried beans. I don’t have enough experience (yet) with fresh beans to know if that’s a result of roasting as a cooking method or a quality of fresh beans, but I definitely want to experiment more to see. Otherwise the flavor was so layered and satisfying (especially against the earthy sweetness of the farmers’ market carrots) that I didn’t care much. I’m just a perfectionist so I HAD to point it out.
Serves one and yields about 1/3 cup pate
-2 cups fresh garbanzo beans in their pods
-3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
-2 tablespoons goat cheese
-2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
-2 tablespoons water
-1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
-1/2 teaspoon onion powder
-1/4 teaspoon dried dill
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the garbanzo beans and olive oil together until the beans are well coated with the oil. Pour beans out onto a sheet pan lined with foil. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until the pods are lightly charred and the garbanzo beans are tender. Remove the beans from the oven and set aside until they are cool to the touch.
Once cool, shell beans and add to a food processor (this works best with a mini food processor due to the small quantity of ingredients) with the remaining ingredients. Process until the mixture is well combined and smooth. Serve with fresh vegetables like carrots or cucumbers, crusty bread, or good crackers.