When I think of a chickpeas I think of hummus, falafels, healthy salads and nourishing soups. The last thing that I’d ever associate with it is sex. But don’t let this modest little legume fool you. It once had quite a reputation as potent aphrodisiac.
The chickpea was a medieval form of Viagra. However instead of gulping down a small blue pill, you’d wash down copious amounts of chickpeas with a mug of honeyed camel’s milk... Makes me wild just thinking about it.
If, however, you happen to run out of camel milk, I have a great back-up plan which I am almost as wild about: Sauteed silver beet with chickpeas and fried bread.
This dish works well as a side or as a main. I usually eat it for lunch and if I have any left over it's a brilliant addition to soup. For the fried bread, I prefer ciabatta for its crunchy texture however you can use whatever type of bread is at hand.
Just before serving I sprinkle on a little smoked paprika. While I only use a small amount, the paprika imparts a sweet, full-bodied smoky flavor and also adds a spicy kick to the dish. I use the La Chinata brand. It's divine and it's my magic ingredient in many recipes.
A note on the chickpeas, for this recipe I use the dried variety which require soaking followed by about an hour of boiling in salted water with garlic. Also, if you're wondering what silver beet is, it's that leafy green vegetable with white stalks and large crinkly leaves. It's sometimes called spinach.