Potato Salad with Fennel, Leeks, and Chickpeas

This potato salad has a contrast of textures and flavours. The leeks, when roasted, are delicate and soft, working perfectly with the crunchiness of the chickpeas. Both the fresh and crisp fennel and watercress, cut through the buttery potato, and the roasted garlic and lemon dressing adds just the right amount of kick.

Potato Salad with Fennel, Leeks, and Chickpeas
  • 440 g can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and dried
  • juice and finely grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon sumac
  • 2 tablespoon extra–virgin olive oil
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 thin leeks, white and pale green part only (see note 1)
  • 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled, halved
  • 280 g kipfler potatoes, scrubbed, halved lengthwise (4 small)
  • 1 baby fennel, fronds reserved
  • 4 cups watercress, picked through and washed
  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Combine half the chickpeas, lemon rind, ½ teaspoon of sumac and 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Season to taste and toss until evenly coated. Spread on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Wrap the garlic cloves in foil and place on the oven tray, along with the leeks. Transfer the ingredients to the oven and roast for 20–25 minutes until the chickpeas are golden and crisp and the leek and garlic are soft and tender. Remove from the oven, unwrap the garlic and set aside to cool for a few minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the potato and boil gently for 14–16 minutes until tender. Drain well and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  3. For the dressing, mash the roast garlic with a fork into a paste. Add 1½ tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and ½ teaspoon of sumac. Season to taste, mix until well combined and emulsified.
  4. When the leeks are cool enough to handle pull away the tough outer layers and slice into 2 cm-thick rounds. Finely slice the fennel and place in a bowl with the watercress. Add enough dressing to lightly coat. Divide watercress between plates then arrange the potato, raw chickpeas and cooked chickpeas on top. Drizzle with the remaining dressing, serve immediately.
1. Slim leeks are regular length but only about 5 cm in diameter. If unavailable you can use normal leeks but they will take an extra 5–10 minutes in the oven.

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John Doe
Professor of Botanics
Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, John is a superior specialist in growing palms and exotic plants.
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