Ok we’re throwing my blog schedule out the window and talking about chick peas today. I have been getting calls, notes, texts about the Crispy Chickpeas that topped my salad in the Sunday Supper post that I tabled my scheduled blog to follow up on the questions. On Sunday I participated in am amazing Sunday Supper event where we featured our favorite winter salads. You can CLICK HERE for the recipe for my salad and the links of all who contributed and since I posted this there has been a bit of a buzz going on about the crispy chickpeas I used to top the salad.
Here is a brief history of my relationship with the legume: I have always been a fan of Chickpeas, also known as Garbanzo Beans or CeCi Beans, for their flavor, and nutty texture. Plus it is the only bean variety that I will use out of the can. That makes them very popular in my kitchen because I don’t have to pre-plan for them and soak the beans overnight, then cook them. I can open the can, give them a rinse and use them in soups, stews, salads and puree them into hummus.
One evening, a long time ago I went to Mario Batlai’s flagship restaurant, Babbo and sampled their Ceci Bean Crostini. It was amazing!
I started thinking about roasting the chickpeas to make them more like a crouton in salads. I have been doing this ever since and the craze has caught up. I guess I’m not the only one with this idea, which is exciting to be part of a fad. Now you can look up the recipe anywhere on the Internet and find a variation of the roasted chickpea.
This is so simple. Open a can or two of chickpeas, drain them in a colander, dry them on paper towels then mix them in a bowl with olive oil to coat and roast, pull them out of the oven and season them however you would like. They can be used as a garnish to sprinkle them on soups or salads in lieu of croutons, it elevates the dish to another level – trust me on this. When the crispy chickpeas are used as a garnish I rarely season them, so they will not compete with the flavors of the dish, but that is a personal preference.
Serving them as an appetizer is different. This is where the fun variations come in. Steve’s favorite is Old Bay Seasoning (what a surprise – you can’t take the Maryland out of the boy) and/or Smoked Paprika. Sometimes we combine them or sometimes we use them individually. I like a teaspoon or two of chopped rosemary with a pulverized garlic clove but thyme is nice. We like them served warm but you can prepare them in advance then roast them as your guests arrive. I used to season them as they went into the oven but I forgot once and had to season them after they roasted. That was a revelation, the warm chickpeas released a fragrance in the herbs and spices that is enticing. Now I season them after they cook, like popcorn.
This is a great appetizer to set out and I assure you it will get rave reviews. These are so easy to do you will be making them every week and everyone will be asking you how you did it! Move over popcorn, there is a new kid in town!!!
- 2 cans chickpeas
- 1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons + more of your favorite seasoning: finely chopped rosemary, thyme, garlic, old bay seasoning, Smoked paprika or your favorite herb/spice or combination (optional)*
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
- Open the cans of chickpeas and drain in a colander rinse thoroughly and pat dry on paper towels. Transfer the chickpeas to a bowl and add the olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
- Spread them onto the foil lined baking sheet and roast in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove them from the oven when they are crisp and golden on the outside (not brown! They will dry out).
- Season as you like and serve warm.