Over the weekend, Andrew and I went to one of the closing Borders stores. The cookbook section was pretty cleaned out, but I managed to snag a copy of Melissa Clark's In the Kitchen With a Good Appetite. I had been hearing great things about this book on other food blogs and I'm so glad I came across a copy on sale. The book is a delight to read! Each recipe is preceded by a short essay with anecdotes from Clark's life, describing the inspiration for the dishes and the ways the recipes have evolved. I haven't been able to put it down - I've actually been taking it with me on my commute to work so that I can read it on the bus.
I've bookmarked many recipes to try out, but these fried chickpeas beat out all the others for me to try first. Andrew and I have been doing some dinners recently "tapas-style", making several small dishes in a night. It's a great way to use up random ingredients that need to be finished, especially if there isn't enough of the ingredient for it to be part of a larger dish (e.g. half a tomato, a couple of small corn tortillas, half cup of cooked spinach). These chickpeas were the perfect addition to one of those tapas-style meals. They are delicious and addictive, salty, crunchy, and flavorful. They would make a fabulous party snack - I imagine that they would pair perfectly with beer. Be careful though - make sure you have others around to help eat them, or you will finish them yourself before you know it!
Adapted from In the Kitchen With a Good Appetite
I tossed the chickpeas with a bit of chickpea flour after drying. This step is optional, but it does give the chickpeas a slightly rougher surface, which results in some extra crunchy bits. They should come out fine without it though.
1 (15.5 oz) can of chickpeas
Chickpea flour or all-purpose flour (optional)
Oil for frying
Kosher or sea salt
Hot smoked paprika
Drain chickpeas, rinse, and then drain again on a triple thickness of paper towels, patting with an additional paper towel to dry as much as possible (they probably won't get 100% dry so just do the best you can). Toss chickpeas with a spoonful of flour (optional). Heat oil in a deep pot or saucepan until it reaches 375 deg F. Fry chickpeas until they are golden brown and crunchy on the outside, but still soft on the inside, about 5 minutes. Remove chickpeas with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Sprinkle immediately with salt and paprika to taste and toss well - Clark recommends starting with about 3/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp smoked paprika. I used at least 1/4 tsp paprika and will use even more next time, because the smoky flavor didn't come through as much as I wanted. Serve warm or at room temperature.
About storage: we ate the whole batch within a couple hours so I can't give you any information about longer-term storage...I suspect yours won't last long either though.