1/2 pound chickpeas, soaked for 6 hours or overnight
1 quart water
2 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced lengthwise
2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely diced
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and sliced thin on the bias
1 tablespoon slivered mint leaves
1/4 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
1 ounce feta, crumbled
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, halved and finely minced
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
, to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1. Drain the chickpeas and place in a large saucepan with the water, garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, bay leaf and salt. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook gently for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until tender. Remove from the heat, uncover and allow to cool slightly in the cooking liquid.
2. While the chickpeas are cooking, make the dressing. Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add the cumin seeds and pepper. Heat in the pan until the spices smell toasty, like popcorn, a couple of minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and cool for 5 minutes, then grind in a spice mill and transfer to a small bowl. Rub the oregano between the palms of your hands to draw out the aroma, and add to the bowl. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and the garlic in a small pan over medium-low heat until the garlic is just fragrant and simmering. Pour over the spices. Stir in the vinegar and salt to taste. Whisk in the remaining olive oil. Let sit 30 minutes before using.
3. Drain the cooked chickpeas and transfer to a salad bowl. Allow to cool slightly and while still warm toss with the olives, tomatoes, scallions, mint, pepper and 1/3 cup Cumin-Oregano Vinaigrette. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Sprinkle on the feta and serve warm.