Chickpea Bruschetta with Kale Almond Pesto


1 baguette, ciabatta, or your favourite crusty bread
olive oil for brushing
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice, to finish (or aged balsamic vinegar)
Fresh thyme, to finish

1  can chickpeas, strained and rinsed
½ cup Ligurian olives (or Kalamata), roughly chopped
1 tbsp. good quality extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
½-1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
salt, to taste

4 cups loosely packed Tuscan kale, stems trimmed and roughly chopped
¼ cup blanched almonds, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano or similar cheese
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
salt, to taste

If your baguette has a ton of holes and doesn’t look like it’ll hold toppings very well, the trick is to cut the entire baguette in half (separating the top from the bottom) and then go ahead and slice each side into rectangles, squares, triangles, or octagons, if you’re feeling really fancy.

Preparing the bread really depends on what kind of equipment you have available to you. Ideally, you’d brush each slice with olive oil and place on a hot grill to achieve great char marks. If you don’t have a grill, you can use a stovetop grill pan, toast in a skillet, or place all the slices on a sheet tray and toast in the oven until golden brown.

*If you love garlic as much as I do, rub the toasted bread slices with a clove of garlic while they’re still hot. It adds an extra garlic punch to the finished product.

1. Finely chop the olives or place them in a food processor and pulse until fine.

2. Make sure the chickpeas are well strained, since too much extra water will keep the olives from adhering to the chickpeas. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning and add salt, if needed.

1. Place kale, almonds, garlic, and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Make sure to wipe down the sides of the bowl, then turn the food processor back on and drizzle in the olive oil.

2. Transfer the pesto to a bowl and stir in the cheese and freshly ground pepper. Different types of cheese will lend different amounts of salt, so add salt to taste.

*Both the pesto and chickpea mixture can be made a day ahead. Keep in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped. Bring to room temperature before assembling bruschetta.

To prepare the bruschetta:
Spread 1-2 tbsp. of pesto on each slice of bread and top with a spoonful of chickpeas. Garnish with fresh thyme and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. If you don’t have lemon juice, you can drizzle a small amount of aged balsamic vinegar over the finished bruschetta.

Makes 10-12.

Courtesy of Shauna Burke


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