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Reminiscing on Fried Goodness: Smoky Fried Chickpeas

When I was driving around New Orleans on Mardi Gras night, searching desperately for an open grocery store that sold raw oysters, I could have been compared to a movie superhero. Not even a superhero, though. Just calling me the hero of a romantic comedy would be sufficient. I was on a rescue mission, striving to save the poor oysters from the cruel clutches of vacationing grocers, who care nothing for Lenten food sacrifices taken on by mildly unhealthy young people who do not plan ahead with their shopping. While I searched desperately, driving frantically and dialing and redialing numbers to no avail, my hero façade began to crumble; the desperation induced by the idea of no last fried oysters poked holes in my armor and a near-panic attack swelled on my emotions.

The longer I went without finding an open store, the more fried foods danced through my tired brain. It wasn’t just the occasional late night cheese fry indulgence and the delicious fried oyster that would be cut out of my life for 40 days. There was chips – the spicy Zapp’s variety or the deep fried baskets full that load every Mexican restaurant; there was tempura-fried goodies in sushi rolls; there was just about every item on any menu that a recent college graduate can afford.

Simply put: as these foods flashed through my head tauntingly, the desire to give up and sink into a meal of something green and healthy while silently sobbing grew in me.

You know, though, that I finally found oysters that night. After such a heart-wrenching trek, however, I couldn’t end the day with just one fried delight. After all, Serious Eats had been oh, so kind and created a list of the top 20 fried foods just that morning.

So, I wish I had a good reason to share this recipe today. But I don’t. This is just my reminiscent indulgence that arose after browsing through pictures. Those temptress fried chickpeas had been lurking on my computer, hidden away like some taboo files. And now I just had to share.

Smoky Fried Chickpeas
From Serious Eats

2 13-oz. cans of chickpeas
1 cup olive oil
1 tbs lemon zest in thin strips
1 fresh thyme sprig
4 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
1 tbs smoked paprika

Drain the chickpeas and set on paper towels in a colander to dry thoroughly.

Heat the oil in a large pan until it reaches 375°. Add lemon zest, thyme, and chickpeas in batches to avoid crowding the pan. Fry each batch about 5 minutes, or until chickpeas brown and are crunchy. Remove chickpea batches using a slotted spoon and drain in a colander.

Add the garlic and fry briefly until golden. Remove and drain.

Toss the chickpea mixture with the fried garlic, paprika, and salt. Serve immediately while hot and crispy.

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