Cicerchie – What Are They? If You Know, You Are Cool!

Cic-soup We love cicerchie and have been importing them for a long time. Frankly, it’s always a struggle to explain: what kind of beans they are; what they look like; and what you do with them. But once you try them, you fall in love!

Erica De Mane, food author of books such as “Pasta Improvvisata” and “the Flavors of Southern Italy” comes to rescue and writes about them. Thank you Erica! In short: cicerchie are an ingredient of “la cucina povera”; they were in danger of extinction; rediscovered by chefs, cicerchie are now cool; you use them with salads (soak and boil them – then, add ev olive oil) or to make an excellent soup with shank and rosemary (wonderful recipe here. great, for this fall season – picture of Erica’s soup above). Appearance? Cicerchie aren’t pretty. Erica says they look like old, rotten, beaten, yellowed teeth. They look better once they are cooked, Erica says. Thank goodness.

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  1. says:

    I have seen cicerchie listed as “wild chickpeas” on Cesare Casella’s menu at Salumeria Rosi. Rotten yellow teeth? I describe them to people as looking like small pebbles – a bit more appetizing! I have cooked them with garlic and rosemary, added EV olive oil and salt, and pureed them – just as you would do a white bean spread — for crostini. They are equally good as a side dish, and you can add whatever you want: sauteed carrot/onion/celery, or let them cool off and add red onion, cucumber, and oil and vinegar. They are a very versatile legume.

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