September 17, 2012
What better way to start the new year than with Smoky Fried Chickpeas?!
The Jewish new year, that is!
Last night marked the beginning of Rosh Hashanah and we celebrated the occasion with dinner at a friend’s house. The hostess made brisket (an amazing braised brisket with plums, star anise and port by Melissa Clark) and rice (you MUST have rice with this brisket—the sauce is out of control delicious). We brought a simple fattoush salad (chopped cucumber, tomato, pepper, parsley and pita chips tossed in a red wine and lemon vinaigrette) and cider braised squash.
We ended the meal with a plum kuchen and started it with smokey fried chickpeas. Good wine and conversation flowed throughout.
We’d barely coordinated, the hostess and I, but somehow dinner was perfect. It felt expertly planned. In fact, consider this a complete menu idea for next year. If you do not celebrate Rosh, this is a great fall or winter meal for guests and the chickpeas are a killer way to start any party or celebratory meal, holiday or not.
Happy new year to all who celebrate. May it be a sweet one.
Smoky Fried Chickpeas
(can be shared with kids 12+ mos)*
Serves 6-8 as a nosh
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas
1. In a deep pot, pour canola oil until it is about 2″ high up the sides. Heat over medium-high heat. (If you have a thermometer, you want to heat the oil to 375 degrees fahrenheit.)
2. While the oil is heating, drain, rinse and pat chickpeas very dry.
3. Working in batches, add the first can of beans to the hot oil. If you know you’ve heated the oil to 375 degrees, the chickpeas should fry for about 7 minutes. If you’re flying by the seat of your pants, check one at 7 minutes and continue frying (and testing) as necessary until they are crisp.
4. Use a slotted spoon to carefully spoon fried chickpeas onto a paper lined plate. Sprinkle each spoonful with salt as they come out of the oil. As soon as the entire first batch is out of the oil, add the second. Then, while the first batch is still hot, sprinkle with smoked paprika. Carefully pick up the four corners of the paper towel liner with the beans securely inside the “pouch” you’ve created. Shake all around and dump them into your serving bowl. Toss one more time with the slotted spoon and taste; adjust seasoning as necessary. Repeat process with the second batch.
*Note: These are safe to share with any child safely managing chickpea sized bites. I recommend them beginning at 12 months since they are a fried food. You may consider holding off on fried foods even longer, though a small handful of these are a fun “sometimes” or holiday treat, even for early eaters.
This dish is inspired by one of my favorite Indian dishes, Chole Saag. Or, wait, Saag Chole. I believe the former is primarily chickpeas (chole) with some spinach (saag) mixed in, while the latter is a dish of primarily spinach with some chickpeas mixed in. My dish is definitely about the spinach, no question about it, because—move over, Popeye—I'm a mom on a mission. I rarely plan meals around what I think my kids "need." Obsessing over the many ways we can meet our children's every need in real time is the worst part of popular parenting culture. I'd like to think that being thoughtful, loving and doing our best balance our children's needs with our own is a good (or good enough?) approach. When it comes to food, that means making healthy food that I like to eat while making sure that my kids have access to a wide variety of healthy foods three meals and two snacks a day. But, lately, I've tired of seeing every green vegetable other than broccoli go to waste. And does broccoli even count as green when it's lacquered in crimson ketchup? Yuck. (more after the jump)
A one-pot dream recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook, It's All Good.
Roasted Apricot & Burrata Crostini Get the recipe