PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 November, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 November, 1997, 12:00am

Back in the days when vegetarianism was more often a philosophical option than a healthy-lifestyle choice, chickpeas would turn up in horrible variations such as croquettes and bakes on the student dining table.

Indian cuisine has always known exactly what to do with chickpeas (chana dal is delicious) and so have the Italians with their soups.

Cold whole chickpeas are excellent on the antipasto buffet at Grissini, the Grand Hyatt's Italian restaurant, and this recipe follows that concept.

Use fresh aromatic herbs, a good olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper. Serves six as a side dish.

Chickpea Salad 2 cloves garlic 4 shallots 280g dried chickpeas 6 tbs extra virgin olive oil 4 tbs chopped fresh herbs (try parsley, coriander, thyme, sage, oregano) Salt and pepper to taste Soak the chickpeas overnight. Boil in plenty of water with the garlic cloves and shallots over a low heat until the chickpeas are soft but before they crack and the skins start to come off.

Remove garlic and shallots, and rinse the chickpeas in cool water. Toss thoroughly with herbs and oil, and season well. Serve cold.