March 23, 2011

Holy Chickpeas, That's the Sound of Crispiness Happening!

And I thought the only way to have an exciting dinner during the week was to go out for dinner…

Oh no, no, no….

You just need to fry up some chickpeas, is all.

Here I was, thinking I was making a mellow dinner tonight: Spinach with Crispy Chickpeas and Ricotta Salata from Urban Italian.

I drained my chickpeas, rinsed them, patted them dry, just like I was supposed to.

Mixed them with a tablespoon of flour.

Heated up some olive oil until it smoked. Threw in the chickpeas, waited for the “chickpeas will begin to snap-crackle-pop; that’s the sound of crispiness happening” that Andrew Carmellini said would take place. I was expecting more of a Rice Krispies snap-crackle-pop. A delicate snap-crackle-pop. A discrete snap-crackle-pop.

They popped alright. A little too much so. I actually stood back, looked around the kitchen and started trying to come up with a game plan. I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to survive the chickpea popping. I immediately started playing out bad chickpea scenarios in my head. I was rather afraid to go up to the pot and shake them every few minutes like I was supposed to do.

I am pretty sure I actually saw one little chickpea pop itself out of the pot and shoot across the kitchen (I haven’t found it yet to confirm for sure).

But I eventually got my wits back about me. I wearily went up to the pot and shook it. I survived it. But just to be extra careful, after that point, I used a spoon so that I could have more distance. I had visions of those chickpea poppers popping my eyeballs out, or leaving a good-sized oily burn mark on my face.

Turns out crispy chickpeas are delicious though if you survive making them. They take on a very different not-so-chickpea-y flavor when crisped in oil. I would totally put a bowl of these out at a cocktail party or with drinks.

My body is thanking me for some non-pizza, non-Starburst jelly beans, non-whoopie pie nourishment. My body thanks you, you poppy little chickpeas.

Crispy Chickpeas (Adapted from Spinach with Crispy Chickpeas and Ricotta Salata from Urban Italian by Andrew Carmellini)

15 oz canned chickpeas
1 tbsp flour
3 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp each salt and fresh cracked pepper

Rise and drain the chickpeas. Lay them on paper towels to dry.

Heat oil in deep pot on high heat until it starts smoking. In the meantime, mix the chickpeas in a bowl with the flour.

When oil is ready, place chickpeas in the pot and stir once to coat all chickpeas with the oil.

Let them sit for a minute or two (like Carmellini warns, they will start cracking and popping). Shake the pan every few minutes or stir with long-handled spoon, depending on your comfort level.

Keep pan-frying until the chickpeas are browned on all sides and crispy, about 8 minutes.

Transfer to a bowl and season with the salt and pepper.

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