Everyone’s taste buds change over time.
Even before I started the sweetener-free challenge, I wondered how my tastes have changed. I can’t do deep-fried foods or other meals doused in oil. It isn’t the fat that bothers me because I easily down more than a handful of nuts in a sitting. :P
Last week, I started to re-introduce sweets. Fruits: mostly apples and berries. I have replenished my morning grapefruit stash. Dark chocolate, too: I made my Almost Guiltless Chocolate Mousse Pie. After this challenge, my tolerance for highly sweetened foods decreased.
My tolerance for spice has increased, albeit still slowly.
Then I discovered Aleppo chile flakes, more flavourful than hot. Slowly I added more and more to my dishes. I began experimenting with Ancho chili powder and paprika as well.
I was drawn to this recipe for Spanish Chickpeas since it looked like a flavourful warm chickpea salad. Spiced with smoked paprika, chile powder and roasted garlic, it really called my name. It has been awhile since I’ve pan-cooked chickpeas, and as I made it, I added spinach. When I sat down to eat it, I was smitten. Perfectly balanced with smoky undertones, sweetness from the red peppers and lightness from the lemon juice. It reminded me of my Spanish Chickpea Salad with Capers and Roasted Red Peppers (without the salty capers) and the addition of the spinach reminded me of Andalusian Chickpeas and Spinach. Two years ago, I made a hybrid from Deb’s recipe and the recipe in The New Spanish Table. All I remember was that it too spicy. I remember kicking myself for using so much paprika.
Two years later, I compare both recipes. I assumed I had used a tablespoon of paprika or something crazy the first time. No, it was only one teaspoon. Just like in this recipe. This version was definitely not spicy even with the addition of Ancho chile powder.
Any takers? Have my taste buds improved or has my paprika decreased in potency? ;)
(My paprika is not two years old, in case you were thinking it! I used sweet paprika from Penzey’s before and smoked paprika from Whole Foods for this recipe (the brand escapes me at this time) I am tempted to believe that smoked paprika isn’t as spicy as its non-smoked counterpart).
Here are some other great Spanish recipes:
15 cloves garlic (1 head)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
1/4 tsp Ancho chile powder
1.75 cups cooked chickpeas, cooking liquid reserved
1 bunch spinach, stemmed and coarsely chopped (300g prepped)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1. If you haven’t roasted your garlic yet, start now by chopping off the top, sprinkling with oil, salt and pepper. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil and roast at 400F for 45 minutes. Set aside to cool when finished.
2. Meanwhile, chop your onion and bell pepper. In a medium non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and red pepper and sprinkle with salt. Saute until tender and translucent, around 5-10 minutes. Stir in the smoked paprika and Ancho chile powder, stirring for 20 seconds until fragrant. Deglaze with a bit of reserved bean liquid (?1/4 cup) and add the chickpeas. Stir and allow to cook for 5-10 minutes until most of the liquid has disappeared. Stir in the spinach, adding it in batches, allowing it to wilt. Once all the spinach has been added, turn off heat. Stir in the lemon juice, red wine vinegar, green onions and roasted garlic. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.