Fresh Garbanzo Beans are everywhere now! What used to be a seasonal find is apparently available year-round -- according to Califresh website -- wherever stores can stock it and sell it reasonably fresh. (No, I have no affiliation with the company, it just happens to be the kind I found at a nearby grocery store.)
Shelling these fresh garbanzo beans aka chickpeas is a Zen-like activity, much like shelling Fava beans or good ol' green peas. I could have tasked the kids with it, but, I needed the down time to just sit in one spot and focus on one thing at hand.
So, as I sat there in the backyard, with a pile of these pods, I decided I am not going to be in any rush to get it done. The house finches were monopolizing one of the porch feeders, until a black-headed grosbeak stopped by for a snack - a rare visitor. Of course, chickadees knew not to compete with the house finches so they flocked to the feeder on the pear tree. All the while, a couple of hummingbirds were creating a racket darting back and forth trying to cut off the other one's approach to their feeder.
I am digressing... Gripping each pod with fingers, gently massaging the pea inside till the pod pops open to reveal a solitary large green pea/bean, (and, sometimes twins), is only fun as long as there is just under a pound to shell at a time, which is all I had at hand.
Steam it for about 15 to 20 minutes so as not to be mushy but tender and eat it as-is, or seasoned. Or, sauté it in olive oil, or even pan-roast it. Toss it into pasta or rice or curries. Make fresh chickpea hummus along with edamame, if preferred.
This time, I went with a simple summer salad: Some colorful bell peppers, shallots, English cucumbers, celery, cherry tomatoes, feta, and of course, a ripe but firm nectarine--its mild sweetness enhances most simple salads and salsas.
A simple vinaigrette with a splash of apple cider vinegar, a spot of honey, a drop of lime juice, a pinch of salt, and a touch of olive oil is all it takes to bring this colorful fresh summer salad alive.