These chickpeas are beyond addictive. Jarrett and I first had them at AS220 in Providence, a nonprofit restaurant/bar/music venue/art galley/hipster kind of place. One of the book designers at work recommended it after I asked her for a place with cheap, but high quality and innovative, food and drinks and a fun vibe (i.e. The Perfect Restaurant).
Jarrett and I walked in and immediately Did. Not. Fit. In. It was like a bad sitcom where there’s a loud record scratch, everyone stops talking, and turns to look at the intruders. Jarrett was in a dorky plaid flannel shirt and his trademark Winchester hat, and I was wearing a dress, heels, and pearls. We were the only un-inked, un-pierced, un-down-with-that squares on the premises.
We kind of scuttled over to a table and tried to look like we were being ironically nerdy as some sort of social statement. I try this move a lot. It never works.
So we decided to fix it by ordering EVERYTHING.
We ordered an outstanding pulled pork pasta, a butternut squash soup, an intensely cheesy and massive bowl of mac and cheese, a side dish of roasted Brussels sprouts, and these chickpeas.
You know these chickpeas are what’s up when I say they were better than mac and cheese. The mac and cheese was darn good, but I kept going back to these chickpeas and having my mind blown with each bite. They are ultra crispy, have amazing garlic flavor, and just take on such a rich, hearty crunch that you won’t even recognize them as chickpeas.
So I spent months dreaming and scheming about making these chickpeas. This weekend we finally went back to AS220 and sat up at the counter so I could watch them make the chickpeas. And behold, here’s how to make the most addictive and healthy snack food you could ever want.
Crackpeas (a.k.a Crispy Chickpeas)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 15-oz can chickpeas
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon salt
Several grinds of freshly cracked pepper
2 garlic cloves
5-6 basil leaves
Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Place a large skillet over high heat and add the canola oil. Once it’s very hot but not smoking, add the chickpeas. (To test if the oil is at the right temp, drop in one chickpea—it should sizzle.) Spread the chickpeas in an even layer, add the paprika, salt, and pepper, and let cook for 5-6 minutes, shaking the pan to turn them only once. While the chickpeas brown, mince the garlic and roughly chop the basil. Once the chickpeas are fairly brown, add the garlic and basil and give the pan another shake. The chickpeas should be getting a deep brown. Let cook for another 2-3 minutes—they’re done when they’re super crispy. Serve immediately.