Crispy Chickpea Triangles
Chickpea flour is nutty, protein dense and very different from wheat flour, says cookbook author Deborah Madison. It’s used to make farinata, socca, panisse, savory pancakes of all kinds, fries, pakhora and these crispy triangles. Three on a plate with a green salad—Madison likes the slight bitterness of frisée, but you could also use thinly sliced fennel, slivered kale or mixed greens—can be lunch, a generous first course to a light meal or a supper on its own. If you can buy frozen green chickpeas, use some to further garnish the plate.
Madison says she had not used nutritional yeast for years but has started to again because it adds a subtle umami quality to the dish, along with a slew of B vitamins. The chickpea flour can be found in Indian markets and is also available from Bob’s Red Mill.
- 1 1/2 cups chickpea flour
- 3 cups water
- 1 tsp. sea salt, plus more, to taste
- 2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for frying
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1 tsp. nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1 Tbs. minced fresh rosemary or chopped fresh thyme
- 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- A small green salad using frisée or other greens
For the Meyer lemon and shallot vinaigrette:
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- Grated zest of 1 Meyer lemon
- 1 1/2 Tbs. fresh Meyer lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard (optional)
- 5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- Green chickpeas for garnish (optional)
Oil a 9-by-13-inch baking pan or gratin dish. In a bowl, whisk the chickpea flour into the water with the 1 tsp. salt and set aside.
In a 2- or 3-quart saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add the onion, stir in the yeast, rosemary and parsley and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened, 6 to 7 minutes. Season with salt.
Give the chickpea slurry a stir, then whisk it into the onion mixture. Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring continuously with a whisk, until the mixture thickens. Chickpea flour tends to clump up as it absorbs liquid, so be sure to reach around the edges of the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, taste the mixture for salt, then pour it into the prepared pan. Spread it out evenly, then cover with a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool and firm, at least 2 hours but overnight is even better.
Before you fry the triangles, prepare the salad greens and make the vinaigrette: Put the shallot, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt in a bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes, then whisk in the mustard and olive oil. Dress the salad just before serving.
Cut the cooled chickpea cake into quarters crosswise, then cut each quarter into 5 triangles. Pour enough olive oil into a cast-iron or nonstick fry pan to coat it generously and set it over medium heat. (Use 2 pans if you want to fry a lot of triangles at once.) When the oil is hot, add as many triangles as will fit comfortably and cook until they are browned and crisp on the bottom, then carefully turn them and brown the second side. The frying time should be 4 to 5 minutes per side.
Arrange at least 3 triangles on each individual plate and heap the salad in the center. Scatter green chickpeas onto the plate and serve immediately. Makes about 20 triangles.
Variations: Accompany these crispy triangles and salad with romesco sauce. Substitute fava bean leaves tossed with the vinaigrette in place of other greens.
Adapted from Vegetable Literacy, by Deborah Madison (Ten Speed Press, 2013).