One of the best trips I’ve ever taken was with my son Robert and my friend Christopher Ann, roaming around Texas and eating barbecue. The barbecue scene in Texas is easy to enjoy. First, a sheet of pink butcher paper is placed on the table. Then slabs of good meat and sausages come cascading down, and the grease goes from being a spot to a wave that climbs across the pink paper. I get weak thinking about it.
Locally in Napa, we have chef Jonathan Bodnar is making some incredible barbecue in an ugly little industrial park. He’s transformed his space into a roadhouse with good music, pickles, and hot sauces. He can even match his barbecue with Napa wines! He’s an all-around great cook, and I wolf down this salad every time I see it on the menu.
- 1 pound Garbanzo Beans, picked over, rinsed, and soaked for 4-6 hours
- Mirepoix of 1/2 yellow onion, minced; 1/2 carrot, peeled and minced; 1/2 celery stalk, minced; 1 bay leaf; and 1 fresh thyme sprig
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3/4–1 pound tasso ham, cured chorizo, pepperoni, or smoked ham, diced (the size of a garbanzo bean)
- 3 tablespoons Banana Vinegar or other light, fruity vinegar
- 1 red onion, cut into small-to-medium dice
- 2 celery stalks with leafy tops, cut into small-to-medium dice
- 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- Drain off the bean soaking water, place the beans in a saucepan, and add fresh water to cover by 11/2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, skimming off any foam that forms on the surface and stirring the beans occasionally. When the foam stops appearing, add the mirepoix, reduce the heat to low, and cook the beans uncovered until almost tender. At this point, the beans should be about 30 minutes from being done. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil, season with salt and pepper, and stir well, then continue to cook until the beans are tender but not falling apart.
- Remove the beans from the heat and pour them and their cooking liquid into a shallow pan so they cool relatively quickly. Let cool to room temperature. (If possible, transfer the cooled beans and their liquid to a covered container and store overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature before continuing.)
- Drain the cooled beans and reserve the liquid for another use, such as a soup base or for thinning a batch of hummus. Set the beans aside.
- In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the ham and warm through just to render some fat and release some flavor. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vinegar. Add the beans, onion, and celery and mix together gently, then season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the warm salad to a serving bowl, gently fold in the parsley, and taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipe from Supper at Rancho Gordo