Recipe from Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson (Chronicle Books, 2010)Late one night, I glimpsed this Tunisian worker's breakfast, called leblebi, on a travel documentary. Bowls of garbanzo beans, spices, preserved fish, and dry bread were arrayed in clay vessels on a large table. Workers brought their own utensils and chose how much of each item they wanted. Their bowls were finished with a ladle of hot stock and topped with a soft poached egg. Chermoula, another sauce that goes well with most anything, finishes this soup well.
Serves 4 to 6
- 6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 2 pounds fresh garbanzo beans, shelled, or 1 pound dried garbanzo beans
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, if using dried garbanzos
- 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped, if using dried garbanzos
- 2 teaspoons salt, if using dried garbanzos
1 Gypsy pepper
4 dried chiles
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
8 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- Zest and juice of 2 lemons
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves and stems, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
- 3 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted and crushed
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 3 serrano chiles, seeded and finely chopped
- 1/2 cup olive oil
If using fresh garbanzos, bring a saucepan with 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add the garbanzos and cook for 2 minutes. Drain. If using dried garbanzos, combine the garbanzos, cumin seeds, onion, and salt in a saucepan and add 2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, partially covered, until the beans are completely soft, 2 to 3 hours. Remove from the heat but do not drain.
- Croutons made from 6 slices day-old country bread or whole wheat bread (see recipe here )
- 1/2 to 3/4 pounds Tuna Confit (recipe follows) or two 6-ounce cans olive oil-packed tuna, drained
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 to 6 eggs
- 3 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground, for garnish (optional)
To make the harissa, preheat the oven to 475°F. Place the pepper on a baking sheet and roast until the skin is blistered and blackened, 20 to 25 minutes. Put the hot pepper in a paper bag and let stand for about 8 minutes so that it sweats and the skin loosens. When the pepper is cool enough to handle, remove the charred skin, stems, and seeds, and roughly chop. Heat a small skillet over high heat. Add the chiles and press down on them with a spatula, and toast for 3 to 5 minutes. Turn the chiles and press with the spatula to toast on the second side for 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the chiles to a mortar; they will become brittle as they cool. Heat the same skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin, fennel, and coriander seeds and toast, stirring constantly, until you smell the strong toasted aroma, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to the mortar. Using a pestle, pound to a fine powder. Add the chopped pepper, garlic, and salt and pound to a thick paste. Pour the olive oil in the same skillet and heat over medium-high heat until it starts to smoke. Turn off the heat, carefully add the garlic-spice paste (it will bubble and sputter), and stir gently with a wooden spoon to disperse the paste. Let the harissa cool in the skillet, then transfer to a serving bowl.
To make the chermoula, place all the ingredients in the processor and pulse to make a rough paste.
Right before serving, pour the stock into a saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Keep warm. Drain the garbanzo beans if necessary. Divide the croutons, garbanzo beans, chermoula, and tuna among bowls.
Bring a saucepan with 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add the ½ teaspoon salt and reduce the heat to low. Crack each egg into a small bowl, being careful not to break the yolk. Holding the bowl near the simmering water and tilting it, slide the egg into the water. Cook the eggs until they float to the surface, just under 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs from the water.
Ladle the hot stock into the bowls. Place a poached egg in each bowl and garnish with a spoonful of harissa. Season with toasted cumin and serve.
- 2 pounds fresh tuna fillet, at room temperature, cut into thick slices
- Olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 dried chiles
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 3 sprigs marjoram
Arrange the tuna slices in a small pot so that they fit snugly in one layer. Season with salt. Pour in enough olive oil to cover the slices by 1/2 inch. Pound the garlic in a mortar with a pestle. Add to the pot with the chiles, thyme, and marjoram. Set the pan over the lowest heat level and heat until the oil is warm to the touch. The red hue of the fish will change to pinkish gray, an indication that fish is cooking. Continue cooking the fish gently for 5 minutes over very low heat. Remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes. Let the tuna cool in the oil. The tuna will keep in the pot, covered in the oil, for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
- 3 slices day-old bread, each 1 inch thick, torn into 1 1/2-inch chunks
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence (optional)
To make the croutons, preheat the oven to 400°F. In a bowl, toss the torn bread with the olive oil and a pinch of salt. If you are using the herbs, add them too. Spread the bread evenly on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Midway through the baking time, redistribute the croutons if they are coloring unevenly.