Saturday, January 16, 2010

DNA's Spicy Fried Chickpeas

So I've mentioned our friend DNA several times already. Do and he have been friends since our Chicago days, and they would definitely be inseparable roommates if I weren't around. Actually, they lived together for a month while Do was apartment hunting out here, and were kind of disappointed about ending their nightly House marathons when the car & I finally rolled into California. DNA is the kind of guy who, with literally 30 seconds warning, is willing to drop everything and go wine tasting in Napa , test out new Dim Sum places in SF or Richmond, join us for a theatre performance at Berkeley Rep, attempt to recreate Alinea-style food chemistry in the kitchen (we really should break out photos of that), etc, etc. This may not seem particularly impressive until to you realize that DNA is a science PhD candidate in a work environment where 6.5 work days a week is common if not expected. DNA rocks my world.

And he's game for experimenting with cooking, both being our guinea pig and offering up new creations. Last Saturday, inspired by a recipe he'd seen in a Southwest Airlines magazine, he threw together a spicy fried chickpeas appetizer and brought them to our Supper Club get-together. And there was much rejoicing.

The appetizer is really very simple. Breaded and fried chickpeas, with mucho spice added. Result: addictive, a-typical, and better for you than most other appetizer's out there. The 0riginal recipe is here, but DNA found it extremely bland slash didn't have time to finish, so he dumped a bunch of extra spice in. And you know? It worked.

Spicy Fried Chickpeas (serves 8 as an appetizer)
Olive and canola oil for frying
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, thoroughly drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 Tbs smoked paprika
1-2 Tbs cayenne (or to taste, conceivably much more)

  1. Fill a large heavy-bottomed pot fitted with a deep-frying thermometer with 3 inches of oil (1/2 olive, 1/2 canola) and heat to 375°F over medium heat.
  2. Meanwhile, dry drained chickpeas thoroughly with paper towels. Combine 2 tablespoons of the flour, the salt, and the paprika in a large bowl and briefly whisk to break up any lumps. Add chickpeas and toss to coat. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set aside.
  3. Working in two batches, fry chickpeas until they stop popping and have turned golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes per batch. (Be careful: A lot of commotion and steam erupts from the oil when the chickpeas first drop.) Remove with a skimmer or a frying basket to the paper-towel-lined baking sheet.
  4. Toss together chickpeas and paprika and cayenne in a bowl and serve immediately.

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