Sometimes subtle flavors can be some of the best. You don’t need to drown something in sauce to make it taste good. That’s not to say there aren’t delicious sauces that you might want to put on everything. But there are times when you don’t want to put a bunch of effort into a dish, and that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor. This is one of those quick to throw together dishes which tastes delicious.
I tend to keep cooked chickpeas and hard-boiled eggs available as much as possible because they are such easy additions to a salad or sautéed vegetables for some extra protein. This can really help make food prep a lot faster when I’m not feeling inspired to cook much. This dish originated out of a “what do I have in the fridge” moment after some sweet flame grapes started showing up at the farmer’s market a few weeks ago. Small tomatoes are also something I keep plenty of around in summer/autumn as they make a healthier snack than some many other things I will eat while working on the computer. Add some thyme from the garden and a glug of flavorful olive oil and you have a very easy breakfast or lunch.
Speaking of olive oil, that’s another key ingredient you will see used a lot in my recipes (over butter or other oil varieties). While good olive oil can be expensive, one of the things I tend to do is keep two styles around – something inexpensive for sautéing and a nicer oil for salads and dipping bread and the like, when the flavor is really going to out. There isn’t much point in using a really flavorful olive oil for high heat cooking, as it has a really low smoke point which means you are going to evaporate most of those aromatic compounds that give it the flavor before you ever get it near your mouth. Personally, I can tell the difference between something cooked in olive oil versus grape seed or canola oil, so I do prefer it, but I’m not going to waste the nuanced flavors of the single olive variety oil on searing some chicken – unless it’s to drizzle on after the cooking.
This post is turning out a lot longer than I intended for a simple dish, but there is actually so much that goes into the whys behind the dish that it is deceptive. One of the other pieces about this dish that has a slight science bent to it is the mixing of the egg with the oil. It might be tempting to just coarsely chop the egg and lightly toss it, but that’s not what you want to do here. Thoroughly mixing the egg and oil into the dish combines the yolk and oil in a way that is reminiscent of mayonnaise (an emulsion), so it ends up creamy without the addition of any dairy or heavy mayonnaise itself. This is something I have taken to eating rather regularly as an early afternoon lunch because it is so quick and tasty.
Chickpeas with Egg, Grapes, and Tomatoes
- 1/3 c/85g cooked and drained chickpeas cold or room temperature
- 2/3 c/85g cherry tomatoes grape or pear tomatoes also work, halved
- 1/3 c/60g red grapes halved
- 1 hard-boiled egg sliced
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- ¼ - ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp fresh thyme
- Pepper to taste
- Toss all ingredients thoroughly, adding salt and pepper to taste.