We’ve all been lying to you about crispy chickpeas. I’m sorry. It wasn’t very cool of us. I include myself; I’ve been telling you for years that you can crisp chickpeas in the oven and you can, you really can. But it’s not the whole story. The whole story is that you can get them crunchy in the oven but they also dry out a bit and the texture isn’t half as good as the more lightweight, nuanced crisp you get from frying them on the stove. I’ve always known this. But, who wants to deep fry? Not most of us, and certainly on a random Tuesday. It sounds like a project. It must use a ton of oil. It feels a bit heavy… for lunch.
But what if none of this is true, either? One day earlier this summer I wanted crispy chickpeas and I didn’t want to crank up the oven for 35 to 40 minutes to make it happen. Instead, I heated a few tablespoons of oil (a tablespoon more, if that, than I find roasting them requires) in a small frying pan and it took all of 10 minutes to get them perfect — crispy with shattery edges, but still soft inside. I drained them briefly on a paper towel, coated them with salt, pepper, and lemon zest, and then I added a little more oil to the pan and fried some thinly sliced zucchini until it were browned in spots. On a plate, I stirred together some plain yogurt, finely grated garlic, lemon juice, and salt. I layered the zucchini on top, and half the chickpeas on top of that. I finished the whole thing with red pepper flakes, fresh herbs, and more lemon juice. And I don’t know that I have made a more perfect plate of food since.*
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