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June 6, 2013 / theyellowbungalowla

a delicious reminder…


As I’ve gotten older and now have a few cooking and eating experiences under my belt, I can say with confidence that I love beans. There, I’ve said it. I LOVE beans. White beans, black beans, pinto beans, and garbanzos, plus heirloom beans like purple runners and tongues of fire (yes, even beans have cool names!): name a bean and I probably like it…even LOVE it.

But it wasn’t always this way, as I grew up in the good ‘ol Midwest on a steady diet of meat and potatoes, mac & cheese, jello, and instant pudding. The only beans I ever ate were from a can, mixed with fatty bits of bacon and covered in a dark, sweet sauce, served at picnics and potlucks alongside hot dogs and other grilled fare. “Baked beans” were a Midwest staple, and that was about the extent of my bean experience until much later in life.

In the last couple of years, beans have come onto my radar as never before. Maybe it has to do with my early, limited experience with them, although I have to wonder if the culinary revolution we’re experiencing, with booming farmers markets and ethnic food going more mainstream, has anything to do with it. Hummus and white bean soup make regular appearances at the bungalow, along with refried pinto beans that find their way onto our breakfast plates by the way of scrambled egg tacos. I’m happy to have discovered a deep love of beans, and even happier that Mark Bittman reminded me last week about a particularly delicious garbanzo bean dish that I love. Garbanzos also go by the name of “chickpeas,” which is the name that I prefer to use because it sounds more fun. And so for the rest of our chat here, I’ll refer to them as chickpeas.

In his article, “What Can’t You Make With Chickpeas,” Bittman waxes poetic about this humble kitchen staple, sharing several recipes ranging from chickpea “fries,” aka “panelle,” to a cold chickpea soup garnished with fresh cucumber, red onion, tomato, and feta cheese. I have saved this article and am making plans to try out these recipes in the very near future. Before detailing these more involved recipes, though, he mentions one of my favorite simple snacks: roasted chickpeas. Bittman prefers to pan-roast his chickpeas in a skillet, coaxing the outside to a crispy crunch while turning the inside into a creamy, nutty bite. I’d rather not fuss with having to wipe down my stove-top, so I pop my chickpeas into a hot oven and roast them until they’re crispy. I’ve been known to eat a whole batch on my own, serve them with a good dose of Maldon salt as an appetizer, or add my roasted chickpeas into delicious dishes, like a vegetarian pita, for nutty flavor and crunchy texture.

Today I added my roasty-toasty chickpeas to an arugula salad. Peppery arugula and sweet-tangy peppadew peppers combined with crunchy chickpeas and a lemony-parmesan vinaigrette made for a particularly delicious lunch, almost straight out of the pantry. Thanks, Bittman, for the delicious reminder…

roasted chickpeas

Here are some key tips:

can of chickpeas

Freshly cooked chickpeas are best, but in a pinch a can works almost as well.

towel with chickpeas

The crispiest roasted chickpeas are achieved when the beans go into the oven dry. After rinsing, use a towel to dry, or even better, let them sit out and air dry for fifteen minutes or so. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, and toss into a hot oven, like 400-425 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until browned and crispy. Try not to eat all of them while you’re making the salad or any other dish you might put them into…

~ Enjoy

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