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Yields 7 cups, serves 4-6 as a side dish
Ingredients for the cheese:
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, finely chopped
1 sprig rosemary
To make the labneh:
Put 2 cups of Greek yogurt in a double layer of cheesecloth, place in a strainer over a bowl and refrigerate for 2 or 3 days. Gently squeeze out excess liquid. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add lemon zest. Roll into small balls and place in a jar with rosemary sprig and cover with olive oil. Keep refrigerated up to 3-weeks.
Ingredients for the chickpeas:
2 cups dried Pedrosillano chickpeas, rinsed
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons Aleppo chili pepper
4 teaspoons sumac
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tablespoon pomegranate molasses
2 sprigs of parsley, pick leaves and chop
2 sprigs of mint, pick leaves and chop
To prepare the chickpeas:
Soak the chickpeas overnight in 6 cups of water. Drain, place in a pot and cover chickpeas with 4 inches of water. Bring to a boil and skim off foam. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 40 minutes or until tender. Cool in their cooking liquid and add 1 tablespoon of salt.
Whisk together the garlic, Aleppo, sumac, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, olive oil and 2 teaspoons of salt.
Drain chickpeas and toss with vinaigrette. The flavor intensifies if marinated for a day or two.
For the asparagus:
1-pound asparagus trimmed of woody bottoms and blanched in salted boiling water for 2 minutes or until tender. Drain and place in ice water for 5 minutes to stop the cooking. Pat dry and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
To assemble the salad: toss chickpea mixture with the parsley, mint, and asparagus. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with labneh cheese.