Okay, all you naysayers. It’s really summer now. I’m in Burgundy, where my garden is abundant with beautiful fruit. The cherries are ripening, and there are plenty of raspberries and red currants. And black currants, too — cassis in French — which have been cultivated in France since the 16th century and are a big deal in Burgundy, used to make the sweet dark liqueur of the same name. One of these days I’ll make a tart with them and give you the recipe. For the moment, in a vacation mood, I’m offering an easy summer salad that may be served as a starter, alongside grilled meat or fish, or as a vegetarian dish.
Salade de pois chiches / Chick pea salad with cumin and dill
The trick to this recipe is not to overcook the chick peas. They should be slightly al dente for just a tiny hint of a crunch. The cumin and dill add a Mediterranean flavor that marries well with other everyday French salads — Moroccan carrots, for example, or spicy eggplant caviar. If you plan ahead, you can make all three and take them to a picnic. Many years ago, my friend Julia did just this. We went in a tribe of correspondents and kids to a grassy spot on the shores of the Moscow river. I had brought something unexceptional like roast chicken. When she opened up her containers of spicy fresh Middle Eastern salads, it knocked my socks off. I’ve been making them ever since.