Some salads are special. This one by James Beard Award-nominated San Francisco chef Melissa Perello is one of them. Make it and be blown away by the layered flavors of charred beans and veggies, citrus dressing, and sesame. And good thing the recipe makes extra vinaigrette, because you’re going to want it. (Store it in the fridge for up to a month.) Can’t find preserved lemon? Substitute 2 tablespoons lemon juice, the zest of 1 lemon, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Also, note that while you can replace the dried garbanzos with canned beans, dried will give you better crunch and flavor, though they do require soaking for two days in advance.
- 4 ounces dried garbanzo beans
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 small sweet peppers such as Jimmy Nardello, Corno di Toro, or red Fresno or 1 red bell pepper
- Kosher salt
- 10 radishes halved
- 10 cups mixed green lettuces such as baby kale, purslane, and mizuna
- 1⁄2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1⁄2 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1⁄2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 Persian cucumbers or 1 medium cucumber sliced into 1-inch rounds and quartered
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 1 preserved lemon available at gourmet grocers and Middle Eastern markets
- 1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Soak the garbanzo beans in water at room temperature for two days, drain, and reserve in the fridge.
- Make the Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette: Combine the vinaigrette ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth, and reserve.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large cast-iron pan over high heat. Carefully add the peppers and blister, flipping as the skin chars, until slightly blackened and wilting, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, season with salt, and cover with plastic wrap. Let cool, trim and discard the stems and seeds, and cut into 2-inch pieces. Using the same pan over high heat, add the radishes, cut sides down, and char for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden. Flip and char the other sides for 1 minute. Transfer to the bowl with a slotted spoon. With the heat still on high, add and char the garbanzos, stirring as they blacken, about 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl and reserve.
- Place the mixed greens, parsley, mint, and cilantro in a large serving bowl. Stir the vinaigrette, add to taste, toss the salad to coat, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the peppers, cucumbers, radishes, and garbanzos, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve.
Photo Maren Caruso