Chickpea and Celery Salad
· 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar, more as needed
· 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
· 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
· Salt and ground black pepper
· 2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
· 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
· 4 cups cooked or canned chickpeas
· 4 large or 6 small celery stalks, trimmed (reserve the leaves) and cut into large julienne
· 2 large scallions, white and pale green parts, thinly sliced on a diagonal, or 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
· 1 to 2 cups loosely packed celery leaves, coarsely chopped
· 1 pint small tomatoes. halved
· 1/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves, rolled and julienned
· 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, coarsely grated, or crumbled feta
1. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, maple syrup and a large pinch each of salt and pepper. Drop in garlic cloves, stir, and set aside 15 to 30 minutes to let the ﬂavor infuse.
2. Gradually whisk in oil; dressing will emulsify. Mix in chickpeas, celery and scallions. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
3. Remove garlic cloves from dressing. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt, pepper, vinegar and olive oil. Set aside to cool room temperature.
4. If desired, make croutons, for sewing: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Pull the soft bread out of the center of the loaf, leaving most of the crust behind, and tear bread into bite-size pieces. You should have about 3 cups. Spread pieces on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes, until golden and crisp; let cool.
5. Just before serving, mix celery leaves, tomatoes, basil and croutons, if using, into the salad. In a serving bowl, place a layer of greens, if using, in the bottom. Add celery mixture, then top with cheese and more black pepper.