In this dish, warm poached girello is the base of a full-flavoured salad that also features the humble chickpea. This little bean is so versatile that it has a permanent place in my culinary heart. I love chickpeas most when they are warm and freshly dressed.
Soak chickpeas in hot water overnight. Drain, add to a large pot and cover with cold water. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes until tender. Drain.
In a large pot, place the girello, onion, whole garlic cloves, carrot, celery, peppercorns, bay leaf and thyme. Cover with cold water and bring to a simmer. Cook for 1 hour 15 minutes or until tender. Remove girello, cut into 4 mm slices and keep warm.
If using celeriac, preheat oven to 180°C. Toss the celeriac pieces in a baking dish with a little olive oil and ground cumin. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes until tender.
In a large, deep frypan over medium heat add a little oil and slowly cook the shallots and chopped garlic for 10 minutes. Add the mustard, vinegar and olive oil. Turn off the heat, add the warm chickpeas and celeriac (if using) and stir gently until all the dressing is absorbed. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
Bring a small pot of water to the boil and add the eggs. Boil for 6 minutes until soft-boiled. Remove and let cool in cold water. Peel and halve.
Lay the girello slices on a platter. Scatter with the chickpeas and celeriac, if using. Top with parsley, watercress, soft-boiled eggs and sliced cornichons.