(“Ceci all’Insalata” - “’Nzalata ri Ciciri”)
Because chickpeas grow abundantly in Sicily it was considered staple food for the laborers and the peasants in the
In Sicily chickpeas are also known as “calia” meaning
toasted which is what calia
is: toasted chickpeas. Long before pretzels and potato chips
were around, calia
was sold by street vendors and in Palermo is a preferred
healthy and fulfilling snack.
Because chickpeas are nutritious and fulfilling, they are chosen food for persons with high blood sugar because
they metabolize slowly and they are also selected in special diets and to control body weight.
In Sicilian cooking chickpeas are used extensively and are liked for their faint nut taste and the firm
consistency; used in salads, soups or as a side dish and ground in flour, to make the panelle.
Chickpeas are mostly available dried or canned. The dried chickpeas have to be soaked overnight and cooked between
1 ½ to 2 hours, the canned chickpeas are very convenient and ready to use. Buy a good brand and you will appreciate
that they are cooked to perfection while retaining their quality and nutritional value.
Very ease to prepare: open a can of chickpeas, drain and rinse. Add oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and your
contorno, the side dish is ready!
oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
medium size red onion, finely minced
tablespoons of olive oil
tablespoon of your preferred vinegar
and pepper to taste
clove of crushed garlic (Optional)
pinches of hot red pepper flakes (Optional)
In a bowl combine chickpeas and onions, add the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, if you like, the hot
red pepper flakes, the garlic and toss well.
By adding hearts of celery, tomatoes, olives, fennel, string beans, beans and any other vegetables in season, you
can enhance the taste of this salad.
To transform this dish into a complete meal “un piatto unico” add sliced boiled eggs, cold cuts or leftover steaks,
chunks of soft cheese, or canned tuna fish.
Use your fantasy and what is available in your refrigerator and pantry, and increase the amount of dressing