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Chickpeas a lifesaver

Leah Eskin

Home on the Range

October 21, 2012

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Girls want to have fun. And yet, they don't. What they have is laundry. And carpool. They have grocery lists, to-do lists, listlessness.

They have mom work and work work and teary interludes during which homework is considered, if not actually consummated. They have plans to read good books, look fabulous and smile encouragingly at their children — plans not necessarily realized.

Which is why the girls' getaway is a life-saving maneuver every mom should learn — and practice.

Having gotten away, you are released from the strictures of staying put. For instance, if you sleep in, chat in your pajamas and then turn to a scandalously nutrition-free breakfast of puff-pastry cinnamon twists and coffee, only to discover that both breakfast hour and lunch hour have expired: smirk.

If you plan to hike, but instead lace up the sturdy boots, locate a suitable rock and settle in for a picnic of triple creme on baguette and chocolate-hazelnut bars: sigh.

And if you and your friends decide to cook dinner together, indulge deeply in chick food. Eggplant, obviously. Roasted peppers, of course. And chickpeas, which, for some reason, are sequestered on that side of life's menu savored solely by girls.

Follow up with apple tart, chocolate cake and lavender/caramel truffles. After all, these opportunities are rare — and lifesaving.

Crispy chickpea fritters

Prep: 15 minutes
Chill: 2 hours
Cook: 3-5 minutes per batch
Serves: 4 to 6 as an appetizer

Ingredients:
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup chickpea flour
1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas, drained and roughly chopped
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Olive oil
Vegetable oil
Feta cheese and prepared pesto, optional, for serving

Thicken:
Combine broth, water and salt in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Whisk in the chickpea flour and cook, whisking often, until thick, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped chickpeas and Parmesan cheese.

Chill:
Rub an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with a little olive oil. Scrape in chickpea mixture and smooth with a rubber spatula. Cover and chill until completely cool, about 2 hours.

Cut:
Carefully unmold chickpea square onto a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares, then into 32 triangles.

Fry:
Pour equal quantities olive and vegetable oil into a heavy pan with high sides (or a deep-fryer). Heat to 380 degrees. Fry the fritters a few at a time until crisp and just beginning to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and drain on a kitchen towel.

Serve:
At Girl and the Goat, Chef Stephanie Izard serves these cuties topped with feta, fried chickpeas and a basil/parsley sauce. For quick and easy, try a crumble of feta and spoonful of prepared pesto.

Provenance:
Adapted from Stephanie Izard, of Chicago's Girl and the Goat restaurant, and her soon-to-open diner, Little Goat.

Leah Eskin is a Tribune Newspapers special contributor. Email her at leahreskin@aol.com.